Northern Ireland

Court hears 'walking stick gun' found in drug search

Police looking for drugs found firearms including a walking stick which can be turned into a gun, a court has heard.

Brian McManus, 54, of Aileen Terrace, Newry, County Down, appeared before the city's magistrates court charged with seven firearms offences.

A prosecution lawyer said police searching a large shed at his house found cutting machinery and component parts, along with evidence that deactivated guns had been reactivated.

Mr McManus was remanded in custody.

He denies a number of charges including possession of firearms with intent to injure, possession of a firearm with an intent to instil fear of violence, possession of a prohibited weapon, preparation for an act of terrorism, possession of articles likely to be of use to terrorists and possession of guns in suspicious circumstances.

The prosecution lawyer said that during police interviews, it emerged that the accused had been acting under duress.

The prosecution opposed bail given the seriousness of the offences, the possibility of flight from the jurisdiction and the fear that a relative could finance a trip abroad.

A defence solicitor said Mr McManus had no criminal record, was a registered carer for an uncle and had promised to surrender his passport.

The district judge said that such offences should now be history but this was not the case, and if duress had been involved, the accused could be prevailed upon to commit further offences if released.

He was remanded in custody to appear again by video link next month.