Belfast: Man charged with 63 offences after shots fired

By Aileen Moynagh
BBC News NI

Published

A man facing 63 gun charges after shots were fired in north Belfast had "done the Good Samaritan and gone wrong", a court has heard.

Mark Daniel Waller, 32, of Crumlin Road, Belfast, faces charges including having a gun and ammunition in suspicious circumstances.

The court heard that in follow-up searches, which included Mr Waller's home, 27 suspected firearms were found.

These included four shotguns, a number of pistols and ammunition.

The 63 charges relate to a shooting incident at Silverstream Road and Manor Street on Sunday, 2 May.

Belfast Magistrates Court heard on Tuesday that police received a report that a man had smashed a window at a house in Manor Street.

The occupant said she was confronted by someone whom she believes was Mr Waller.

She said he took out a black handgun and pointed it at her, saying: "I will shoot you dead."

Defendant 'suffered plague of harassment'

Two shots were then fired and later, at Silverstream Road, three more shots were fired.

Police later found Mr Waller in the garage of his family home at Crumlin Road. They said they also found what appeared to be two firearms.

The court heard that after a number of searches were carried out, 27 suspected firearms were found, including four possible shotguns and a number of pistols. Ammunition was also found.

Mr Waller's solicitor said his client accepted that he had the guns but absolutely denied any intent to cause fear to anyone.

He said there was a "wider landscape at play".

The solicitor said Mr Waller and his family had suffered "a plague of harassment and threats from people reporting to be members of paramilitary groupings", which could include the Ulster Defence Association (UDA).

The solicitor said that this matter dates back to 2019, when Mr Waller refused to store drugs for certain people. He and his wider family were then harassed and bullied, he said.

'Found weapons in a bag'

The solicitor said his client and family had suffered "nothing short of a plague and scourge from persons identifying themselves as paramilitaries".

The court was told that Mr Waller said he saw the people who had been harassing him dumping a bag about a year and a half ago.

He took the bag home and, to his "shock and surprise", found several weapons inside.

He claimed he kept them so that they could not be used by paramilitaries on his family or the wider community.

His solicitor suggested Mr Waller had "done the Good Samaritan turn and gone wrong".

The judge said the charges were "very serious".

Mr Waller is charged with having and firing a gun; threats to kill; criminal damage; possession of ammunition and possession of a very large number of firearms which are yet to be examined but appear to be shotguns and pistols.

He was remanded in custody until 1 June.