By Court Reporter
Two men were informed today that they will stand trial in Belfast later this year after they were charged with possessing a submachine gun.
The pair - Eamonn Hutchinson (37) from Princes Dock Street in Belfast and 38-year old Matthew Charles Johnston from Carrick Hill in the city - appeared in court earlier, where they confirmed their names but refused to stand when the charges were put to them.
Both men have been charged with possessing an 'Ingram M11' 9x19mm calibre submachine gun, and a 9x19mm calibre cartridge, on November 28, 2017, with intent to endanger life or cause serious damage to property. They were also charged with possessing the same weapon and ammunition in suspicious circumstances.
After the charges were put to Hutchinson and Johnston, they both replied "not guilty."
Johnston is facing a further four charges on the same date, which he also denied. The accused pleaded not guilty to possessing an assortment of ammunition with intent, and of possessing the same ammunition in suspicious circumstances.
He also denied possessing ammunition for military use which consists in or incorporates a missile designed to penetrate armour plating, armour screening or body armour, namely six cartridges with black tipped full metal jacketed bullets, and also possessing a collapsible stock compatible for use with an Ingram M11 submachine gun for use in terrorism.
Judge David McFarland was told by a Crown prosecutor that the trial date has been scheduled for the end of April. The Judge was also informed that the trial will last between one to three weeks, and that a day should be "set aside" before the commencement of the hearing to deal with any pre-trial issues.
After both men were charged and denied all the offences against them, Johnston was remanded back into custody, while his co-accused was released on bail.