Belfast man, 37, found 'slumped' in car with imitation firearm, court hears

A west Belfast man appeared in court accused of having an imitation firearm in public.

George Williams was also charged with possessing drugs at Belfast Magistrates Court on Saturday morning.

He was charged with possessing cocaine and pregabalin - a prescription medicine used to treat epilepsy, anxiety and nerve pain - on Thursday (May 12).

The 37-year-old, from Colinvale in Dunmurry, confirmed he understood the three charges as he appeared in court today.

During a contested bail application, a police constable outlined how Williams was arrested following phone calls from concerned members of the public.

At 11.15am on Thursday 12 May, officers attended Great Victoria Street and Fisherwick Place and found Williams “slumped” in the drivers seat of a car, with “a half bottle of vodka between his legs” as the car was stopped at traffic lights.

A member of the public had already removed the keys and when cops searched the car, they uncovered the cocaine and pregabalin along with a revolver type gun in the glove box.

The police officer told the court it had yet to be formally classified, initial examinations suggested it was an imitation starter pistol.

Bail was objected to, said the cop, due to fears that Williams would commit further offences and could pose a risk to the public.

Defence solicitor Joe Hackett submitted it was not the case that Williams had been “brandishing” the imitation gun, adding that there was no evidence the defendant was connected to any organised crime gang.

He told the court Williams had recently developed a “serious drug addiction problem” and having sold a car in the last few days.

"The proceeds went towards a bit of a bender,” he added.

Freeing Williams on his own bail of £250 with a surety of £250, District Judge John Meehan attached numerous conditions to the bail order including tagging, curfew, for Williams not to be intoxicated in public and an order that he is to attend with his GP in the next four days.

The case was adjourned to 10 June.