Man who allegedly pointed ‘family heirloom’ replica gun at police who came to arrest him is bailed

A MAN who allegedly pointed a replica gun described as a “family heirloom” at police officers who came to arrest him, has been given bail.

Richard John Taggart (31), of Maple Drive in Coleraine, appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday November 25.

Previously at the same court he was denied bail but was then released at the High Court.

He faces charges including possessing an imitation firearm to cause a police officer to believe that violence could be used and making use of an imitation firearm with intent to resist arrest.

The defendant is also charged with having a hammer with intent to commit grievous bodily harm and criminal damage relating to Sunday November 3 this year.

A previous court was told that Taggart’s former partner was asleep at home when she was awoken by “loud bangs and smashing noises” as the defendant kicked at her door and windows.

She called the police but Taggart had left before officers arrived and police then went to his home to arrest him.

The earlier court was told officers “saw that he had a gun in his right hand which he raised and pointed with his finger on the trigger”.

Believing it was real, the officers withdrew and shouted for Taggart to “drop it” which he complied with but then approached police while holding “a claw hammer in his hand and a bottle of Buckfast” in the other.

A defence lawyer told the earlier court Taggart had been upset following the break-up of the relationship and after seeing pictures regarding his ex-partner on social media he had consumed a large amount of Buckfast.

At Coleraine Court at the start of November a police officer said they objected to a suggested bail address as it was too close to the ex-partner’s home.

A defence solicitor told that court the criminal damage charge was admitted and that “in general terms the circumstances” of what happened at the defendant’s home were accepted.

He said the defendant had a clear record and said the replica gun was a “family heirloom”.
District Judge Peter King told the previous hearing it was a “very striking case” which involved a police Armed Response Unit.

A police officer told that court there was no bail address in the Coleraine area considered suitable and refusing bail the judge said there was “no way on earth” he was giving the defendant bail in the town.

The judge said if there was a bail somewhere else suitable to police the matter could come back to court.

The defendant was subsequently given bail at the High Court to an address in the Articlave area and conditions included a ban from Coleraine apart from court and doctor’s appointments; a night time electronically monitored curfew and a drink ban.

Back at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday, where the defence solicitor was Garrett Greene, a prosecutor said the full file in the case is not due to December 19 and the case was adjourned to December 23.

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