Northern Ireland news

Winston Irvine may find out 'in eight weeks' if he will be prosecuted

Loyalist Winston Irvine

LEADING loyalist Winston Irvine may find out in eight weeks' time if he will be prosecuted for allegedly having guns and ammunition in the boot of his car, a court has heard.

The 47-year-old is currently facing charges connected to the haul of weapons seized in Belfast earlier this year.

But a judge was told that results are awaited on forensic tests and telephone analysis being carried out as part of the investigation.

"There are still outstanding DNA and fingerprint reports," a Crown lawyer said.

"It's indicated that most of these should be with the PPS (Public Prosecution Service) within the next few weeks."

Irvine, of Ballysillan Road in the city, is on bail in connection with the find made on June 8.

He 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, faces the same charges.

Police claim Workman, a 51-year-old joiner, transported the guns in his van to a meeting with his co-accused in the Glencairn area.

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.

Irvine denied knowing anything about the contents of the bag.

Despite initial claims that he may be connected to a mixed DNA profile on a handle of the holdall, further testing ruled him out as a possible contributor.

At Belfast Magistrates Court today, the Crown was granted an eight-week adjournment after setting out details of the continuing investigative work in both defendants' cases.

Listing a further hearing on November 18, District Judge Amanda Brady suggested a determination on prosecuting the pair could be reached by then.

"There may be a decision (at that stage)," she said.

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