Northern Ireland news

Man on gun charge refused compassionate bail to see pregnant partner

A bid for compassionate bail to allow a Co Tyrone man to visit his new-born child has been refused in the High Court.

James Murray is facing a firearms offence linked to an alleged incident in Coalisland earlier this month.

The 37-year old applied to be released temporarily from custody next Monday to allow him to visit his partner, who is due to give birth this week.

The application was objected to by the Crown.

Prosecuting barrister Connell Trainor told Lord Justice Treacy that Murray was currently on remand in Maghaberry following an incident in Coalisland on August 5.

From Gortin Crescent in Dungannon, he has been charged with five offences including possessing a firearm/imitation firearm, possessing ammunition and making threats to kill.

On August 5, a member of the public reported seeing two men in the Co Tyrone town with firearms. When police responded to the report and attended the area, two males ran off but were detained in the Washingbay Road area.

A weapon was located during a follow-up search which is currently undergoing forensic testing to establish whether it's a genuine or imitation firearm.

Murray and a second man were arrested, and when Murray was questioned about the firearm, he claimed it was an airsoft gun which he had found

Defence barrister Steffan Rafferty said Murray's partner was currently in the final stages of pregnancy, was due to give birth this week - and asked that his client be released for nine hours next Monday to allow him to visit his partner and new-born child.

Pointing out that during a police interview Murray gave a full explanation and "denied any wrong-doing", Mr Rafferty said Murray's mother had agreed to both pick him up and return him to custody next Monday evening, and act as a cash surety.

Lord Justice Treacy refused the application.

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