A man who allegedly walked around a busy shopping centre with a gun and knife “in full public view” has been ordered to stand trial.
Appearing at Lisburn Magistrates Court today, 50-year-old Gregory Gordon Aaron Wallace confirmed he was aware of the seven charges against him, all alleged to have been committed on 22 February this year.
Wallace, from Johnston Way in Lisburn, is accused of possessing a handgun without a certificate, three counts of having a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, having ammunition under suspicious circumstances, possessing a weapon in public and theft of £54 of groceries from Tesco.
The particulars of the charges disclose that the firearms offences all relate to airsoft guns, loaded with metal ball bearings while the weapon charge accuses Wallace of having a black handled knife in Bow Street Mall.
None of the background circumstances were opened in court today but previous courts have heard how security staff at the shopping centre contacted the police at around 2.45pm on Tuesday 22 February when they allegedly saw Wallace walking around with a knife and a handgun tucked into the waistband of his trousers.
He walked over to Costa Coffee shop where he was talking to another customer until a police dog handler and Armed Response Unit arrived at the scene and approached Wallace.
As they did so, Wallace stood up and appeared to reach for the waistband of his trousers so believing both themselves and the public “were in immediate danger,” Wallace was tackled to the ground.
“He talked about being a soldier and Covid-19 was his enemy and he was prepared to die,” claimed a police officer adding that Wallace also allegedly “asked officers to shoot him.”
The gun in Wallace’s waistband turned out to be an air soft pistol and the officer said that he had a sports bag with him which when searched, was also found to contain a similar type handgun, a rifle and a smoke grenade.
There was also a number of allegedly stolen food items and an empty bottle of Southern Comfort.
When the “heavily intoxicated” Wallace was taken to A&E, cops found another knife on his person while follow up searches at his home uncovered a further 20 air soft type weapons including pistols, rifles and shotguns.
During police interviews, he admitted he had stolen and drunk the bottle of Southern Comfort having taken “double of his medication” that morning.
He confirmed that he left his house with the bag that morning, claiming he had the guns “for air soft” and that he had the knives “for his own protection” as he is under threat.
“This incident has caused fear, distress and alarm to witnesses,” said the cop.
In court today, a prosecuting lawyer submitted there is a Prima Facie case against Wallace which was conceded by defence counsel Joel Lindsay.
The court clerk told Wallace that although not obliged to, he had the right to comment on the charges and to call evidence on his own behalf but he declined the opportunity.
Freeing Wallace on continuing bail, District Judge Rosie Watters returned the case to Craigavon Crown Court for trial, scheduling the arraignment to be heard on 15 November.
Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.