U-turn over gun for SF man

Published Thursday, 22 March 2012
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A Sinn Féin member denied a gun licence due to alleged criminality has now been issued with a firearms certificate, the High Court has heard.

U-turn over gun for SF man
Michael Toner gained a reference from Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. (© UTV)

No explanation was given for the new decision to approve Michael Toner, which came after he won permission to bring a judicial review challenge.

Mr Toner had gained a reference from Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness as part of his efforts to be classed as suitable for a licence.

His lawyers stressed that he has never been arrested or involved in any illegal activity.

Proceedings were brought on the basis that the refusal was unfair and based on undisclosed information.

In January the judge hearing the challenge, Mr Justice Treacy, granted leave to seek a judicial review on the basis that an arguable case had been established.

But on Thursday he was told a firearms certificate has now been granted to Mr Toner.

Barrister Sean Devine said the development was "curious, to put it neutrally".

He confirmed that the challenge was being withdrawn, but raised the possibility of future defamation action over the allegations.

Mr Justice Treacy agreed to award costs to Mr Toner, adding: "It's quite a dramatic change in position."

© UTV News
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