A man accused of converting an imitation firearm into a gun capable of firing ball bearings and using a ‘bullet’ to attempt to intimidate the husband of a woman he had been romantically involved with has now obtained a bail address.
Iustinian Phelin, a Romanian national, formerly with an address at Linenhall Street in Limavady, appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday October 15.
The charges arise form an incident on October 3 during which it’s alleged the victim was shown a ‘bullet’ and told “it will be for you or your children”.
Objecting to bail at a hearing on an earlier date a detective constable had told that court police later recovered a pistol used for firing blanks but modified to shoot ball bearings.
The officer said Phelin denied making threats.
A defence lawyer told the earlier hearing his client worked in a nursing home.
The lawyer said Phelin was in a relationship with a woman who was also the complainant’s wife.
The court heard the alleged victim had followed her whilst she was meeting the accused and an incident occurred.
The lawyer said Phelin’s “fascination or hobby” had prompted him to replace the barrel of an imitation gun with one capable of firing ball bearings and modified blank shells.
“There is no suggestion he would have used it for any other reason than target practice,” added the lawyer.
And he questioned why threats would be made to the children of someone with whom he was romantically involved.
At the earlier hearing, District Judge Peter King agreed to grant bail on the condition Phelin moved away from Limavady and made no contact with the victim or any witnesses.
The defendant was also ordered to surrender his passport and report to Coleraine police station once a week.
He was, however, held in custody until he could secure new accommodation and was told to appear again at Coleraine Magistrates’ Court via video link on Monday October 8.
On October 8 the defendant appeared at Coleraine Court via video link from Maghaberry Prison where he had been held on remand.
Defence barrister Michael Smyth told that court a planned bail address had “evaporated” and efforts were being made to secure an address outside Limavady.
The defendant was further remanded in custody and the case adjourned to October 15.
Phelin had been freed on bail by October 15 when he appeared in person at Coleraine Court.
A prosecutor asked for the case to be adjourned for six weeks as the full file in the case was not expected to be received “for some time”.