Former policeman arrested after sting operation to stand trial

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An ex-policeman is to stand trial accused of trying to buy a pistol, ammunition and silencer on the dark net, a judge ordered on Wednesday.

Allen Kennedy also faces a series of charges related to his alleged involvement in drug dealing offences.

The 31-year-old, whose address was given as Strandtown PSNI Station in east Belfast, is understood to have resigned from the force since his arrest last September.

He was detained during a sting operation said to have resulted in the seizure of quantities of cocaine hidden inside drinks tins.

Police have rejected his claims that he was seeking the gun to commit suicide.

Kennedy was brought from custody to appeal before Belfast Magistrates’ Court for a preliminary enquiry into the case.

He is charged with the attempted possession of a handgun, 10 rounds of ammunition and a silencer with intent to endanger life and in suspicious circumstances.

Kennedy is also accused of having up to 50 bullets without a firearm certificate.

The alleged drugs offences include having cocaine, cannabis resin and diazepam tablets with intent to supply.

During today’s hearing the accused declined to give evidence or call witnesses.

Defence solicitor Adrian Harvey did not contest submissions that his client has a case to answer.

Granting a prosecution application, District Judge Fiona Bagnall returned Kennedy for trial at Downpatrick Crown Court.

He will remain in custody until his expected arraignment next week.

A previous court heard Kennedy was arrested at Annadale Embankment in the Belfast on September 5 2016 after handing over £500 to receive a package.

A detective claimed the accused had used an online moniker and tag to arrange to buy a Russian pistol, silencer and ammunition over the so-called dark net.

Searches of his vehicle were said to have uncovered drugs inside hides disguised as tins of drink and WD-40 oil spray.

Suspected dealer bags and mobiles containing text messages allegedly associated with someone allegedly involved in supplying narcotics were also seized.

Two properties were then raided as part of the investigation which spread to the north Down area.

In one bedroom where Kennedy stayed police found quantities or ecstasy and cannabis, more drug-related paraphernalia, price lists, ammunition and documents linked to the use of the dark net, the court heard.

According to the defence, however, he has been diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

It was claimed that Kennedy was trying to purchase the weapon to take his own life.