Refused bail to attend funeral of grandmother

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A man police believe to be a member of an organised crime gang was refused bail to attend his grandmother’s funeral by a Crown Court judge.

Gary Pius McPhillips (30), from Hawkin Street, on remand awaiting trial for possessing a sub-machine gun and Yugoslavian hand grenades, denies a further charge of possessing a prohibited weapon on December 20, 2012. However, he admitted possessing £20,000 of ecstasy and mephedrone with intent to supply.

Defence barrister Steven Mooney told the Crown Court the compassionate bail application was to allow McPhillips to be released for a maximum of eight hours to attend his grandmother’s funeral.

Opposing the application, a PSNI officer said police believed McPhillips would fail to return to custody if released. He said police believed he was a member of an organised crime gang with links in Europe.

Judge Phillip Babington refused the application with “some regret and sadness”.

He said the death of a family member was a “time of great sadness for a family no matter who they are or where they are”. He said McPhillips was charged with serious offences and if a member of an organised crime gang it “wouldn’t take much for him to stay at large,” adding that someone charged with matters of such seriousness could not be released even for a short time. McPhillips will appear again on June 27.