Northern Ireland news

Forensic tests on weapons seizure 'not yet complete'

Winston Irvine denies weapons charges

Forensic tests have yet to be completed on guns and ammunition allegedly

discovered in the boot of leading loyalist Winston Irvine's car, a court

heard yesterday.

Prosecutors indicated that it could take at least another month to obtain a

final report on any DNA profiles linked to the haul.

Irvine remains in custody on charges connected to the weapons seizure made

in Belfast last month.

The 47-year-old, of Ballysillan Road in the city, is accused of possessing

a firearm and ammunition in suspicious circumstances, possessing a

prohibited firearm, possession of a handgun without a certificate, and

having ammunition without a certificate.

A second man, Robin Workman from Shore Road in Larne, Co Antrim, is

also currently in custody on the same charges.

Police claim Workman, a 51-year-old joiner, transported the haul of guns in

his van to a meeting with his co-accused in the Glencairn area on June 8.

Following an alleged interaction between the two men, Irvine's car was

stopped a short time later at Disraeli Street.

Officers discovered two suspected pistols, an air gun, magazines and more

than 200 rounds of ammunition inside a leather Calvin Klein holdall in the

boot of the vehicle, according to the prosecution.

Mixed DNA profiles were said to have been located on the bag's handle.

Irvine, described by his lawyer at a previous hearing as a "renowned peace

builder", denied knowing anything about the contents of the bag.

But police have disputed suggestions that he held discussions with Assistant

Chief Constable Bobby Singleton about decommissioning weapons on the day

before the seizure.

Irvine did not appear at Belfast Magistrates' Court for today's update on

the case.

During the brief hearing a Crown lawyer said: "Forensics have been

requested, (but) there is no timetable yet for the return of the forensic

reports.

"Hopefully we will be better able to advise the court in four weeks as to

when they are going to be returned."

Defence solicitor Darragh Mackin replied: "There have been provisional

forensic findings already disclosed, so hopefully we should be in a

position to move forward on the next occasion."

District Judge George Conner granted a four-week adjournment in the

proceedings against Irvine and Workman.

He added:"I hope for progress in all cases."

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