Man accused of having M4 carbine rifle and ammunition is given bail despite police objections

Court reportCourt report
Court report
​​A Co. Antrim man charged with having a military-style gun and ammunition was today (Wednesday) freed from custody despite police objections about his bail address.

Andrew Paul Morrow (45), of North Road in Carrickfergus, appeared at Belfast Magistrates Court via video link from prison on foot of a bail application.

Morrow is charged with possessing a M4 carbine rifle and a quantity of 5.56mm rounds of ammunition in suspicious circumstances and possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply.

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The court heard that police on patrol on Friday May 5, 2023, observed co-accused Gerald Verner "jumping over a 7ft front fence at Morrow's North Road home'' and getting into his car.

He was stopped and searched and a small quantity of 'cannabis edibles' was found in his "man bag''.

"In the North Road property there was a M4 carbine, a quantity of ammunition and a large quantity of Class A cocaine with an estimated street value of £50,000,'' said the detective.

"These items were found in a bedroom that didn't look occupied. Enquiries to date lead us to believe that this is a fully functioning rifle which is quite significant.

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"Mr Morrow lives at the property and he didn't come back at it until 10 pm that night.''A Public Prosecution Service lawyer said: "Mr Verner is a known associate of Mr Morrow. He is seen leaping out of the North Road property and it is a reasonable proposition to say that he was in the house.

"In that house of a known associate of his, a weapon, ammunition and a significant amount of drugs were found. At his (Verner's) home there were no weapons but there were drugs and a significant amount of money.

"He told police at the scene that 'you won't find my prints' on the weapon, ammunition and drugs. We say there is a significant amount of circumstantial evidence to connect him to the 'North Road charges'.''

A police officer today (Wednesday) told District Judge Philip Mateer that he was not opposed to Morrow being released on bail but the objection is to the proposed address in Magherafelt, Co Londonderry.

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"The applicant was released on bail to an address on May 25, 2023 and by Sunday, May 29, 2023, he had breached those terms by committing further offences,'' said the PSNI constable.

"In October 2023, he was further granted bail to another address but that was withdrawn in January 2024 for dishonesty offences in relation to that address.

"The resident of this new address in Magherafelt is deemed to be vulnerable. There are issues with her mental health and the emergency services have been in attendance at this address on several occasions over the past eight weeks."We obviously believe there will be an impact on the welfare of the resident at that address as Mr Morrow also has his own mental health issues.

"We say it is not good for her welfare with having another person with mental health issues in the residence.''

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He added that he was not aware of any history of violence by Morrow to other women.

Defence barrister told the court the woman who was offering her home as a bail address to Morrow was on the videolink watching proceedings. She described her as a "friend'' of the applicant and she was consenting to him staying with her.Following submissions, District Judge Mateer stated: "I am prepared to admit him to bail at that address in Magherafelt subject to conditions.

"The police can monitor the situation and if they have any concerns they can apply for a reconsideration of the matter.''

As part of his release conditions, Morrow must report to police three times per week and be the subject of a night time curfew.

He is not to enter 146 North Road, Carrickfergus, have only one mobile phone and a cash surety of £1,500 is to be lodged with the court.