Northern Ireland

Co Down man court accused of having knuckle dusters and machete

Stephen McPolin
Stephen McPolin

A CO Down man has appeared in court accused of having knuckle dusters and a machete.

Appearing at Newry Magistrates Court by videolink from police custody, Stephen McPolin (32) confirmed he understood the single charge against him of having the weapons at his home on December 17.

A police officer said McPolin’s home at Edenderry Park, Banbridge was searched under the misuse of drugs act. While no drugs were found, officers uncovered weapons in his bedroom.

Although not the subject of any charges, the court heard officers also found "a number of full face balaclavas, Continuity IRA paraphernalia, an Irish Republic flag and clothing suitable for use as colour party uniforms".

When McPolin was being taken to a police vehicle, he broke free, but was arrested a short distance away. During police interviews McPolin "didn’t answer any questions".

Police said McPolin had committed the offences while on licence, so police feared he would commit further offences if freed, adding probation were taking steps to have that licence revoked.

Defence counsel Aoife Murphy claimed police had raided the same house a year ago and weapons had been there at that stage "with no issue taken".

Suggesting McPolin is a "vulnerable individual", she said conditions could be put in place to address police concerns.

District Judge Eamon King freed McPolin on his own bail of £350.

Adjourning the case to January 12, he also ordered the defendant to observe a curfew, barred from alcohol and to provide police with his mobile phone number.