Northern Ireland

Cookstown gun accused 'on way to be shot'

One of four men facing weapons charges after being arrested in a car near Cookstown has claimed he was being taken away to be shot at the time.

Londonderry man Darryn Patrick McCallion, 22, was arrested when police stopped the car on 11 October.

A bail application on Wednesday heard Mr McCallion told police: "Am I glad to see you," when they arrived.

A defence solicitor said Mr McCallion was to have been the victim of a so-called punishment shooting.

He said had been found "face down in the back seat, covered by a blanket" and that when he was being questioned at Antrim Custody suite the accused was "co-operative and provided an account".

'Purchased car'

However, a detective constable disputed Mr McCallion's claim to be the victim of an imminent punishment shooting by paramilitaries.

"Police have discovered the defendant purchased the vehicle in question and drove over 30 miles to a remote location, willingly," he told East Tyrone Magistrates Court

Mr McCallion, of Rathlin Drive, Derry, is accused with three other men of possessing ammunition in suspicious circumstances and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.

A previous hearing was told that a holdall containing a revolver loaded with six live bullets was found when the Ford Fiesta was stopped on the Gorticashel Road.

More ammunition was found rolled up in a sock.

The defence solicitor said bail should be permitted as his client had no previous record.

But the detective replied: "That may be so, but he is known to police."

Judge Bernie Kelly rejected bail stating: "These are serious offences on which certain weight should be placed.

"I believe there is a flight risk and a possibility of reoffending. I am not satisfied anything the court could impose in the way of bail conditions would be sufficient."

Mr McCallion was remanded in continuing custody to reappear by video-link on 10 November.