Northern Ireland

Belfast court: Four have gun charges dismissed

Four men accused of having a gun and trying to raid a house in Newtownabbey have walked free from court after a lawyer argued at least one of them had to be innocent.

Newtownabbey men Ryan Neil Hagan, 27, of Cherrymount; Darren James McKee, 27, and David Carson Allen, 24 - both from Forthill Drive - appeared in court.

Andrew David Boyd, 27, of Glenfield Road, Lurgan, was also in court.

The court heard that the victim had said only three men had been involved.

The four were arrested when police stopped a car in west Belfast hours after an alleged attempted raid on a house on the Doagh Road on Tuesday.

Insufficient evidence

They were charged with having a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, possession of the weapon in suspicious circumstances and attempted aggravated burglary.

At their first court appearance, defence lawyers argued that they could not be connected to the case because the alleged victim claimed only three men had been involved.

Mr Hagan's solicitor said one of the four in the dock must therefore be innocent.

The solicitor challenged the strength of the prosecution case and contended that there was insufficient evidence to connect his client to the charges.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall backed his assessment and refused to remand any of the accused.

All four men were then discharged from the custody of the court.