Published Wednesday, 10 October 2012
The men walked free on account of insufficient evidence against them. (© UTV)
A judge at Belfast Magistrates' Court ruled there was insufficient evidence to connect the suspects to charges linked to an incident at a house just outside the north of the city.
Newtownabbey men Ryan Neil Hagan, 27, of Cherrymount; Darren James McKee, 27, and David Carson Allen, 24 - both from Forthill Drive - appeared in the dock alongside Andrew David Boyd, 27, of Glenfield Road in Lurgan.
All four had been charged with having a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, possession of the weapon in suspicious circumstances, and attempted aggravated burglary.
They were arrested when police stopped a car in west Belfast hours after an alleged attempted raid on a house on the Doagh Road, Newtownabbey on Tuesday morning.
At their first court appearance defence lawyers argued that they could not be connected to the case because the alleged victim claimed only three men were involved.
Mr Hagan's solicitor, Seamus Leonard, said at least one of the four in the dock must therefore be innocent.
Mr Leonard challenged the strength of the prosecution case and contended that there was insufficient evidence to connect his client to the charges.
District Judge Fiona Bagnall backed his assessment and refused to remand any of the accused.
All four men were then discharged from the custody of the court.