Loyalist fireworks charge dropped

A prominent loyalist and tax evader was charged with unlawful possession of fireworks without a license, dismissed.

X-UDR man Sammy Coulter was charged in June with possession of the fireworks without the required license on October 14, 2019.

However, on Tuesday at Newtownards Magistrates Court, the case was dismissed by District Judge Mark Hamill.

Coulter’s attorney, Darren Duncan, previously asked the court for an adjournment in order to assess the public interest in his client’s lawsuit.

Mr Duncan said in a previous hearing: “This incident concerns fireworks found in his house. We are investigating whether or not there is a public interest aspect to this matter.”

Trader Coulter (54), of Cambourne Mews, Newtownards, could face a fine of up to £ 5,000 if convicted of the offense, but District Judge Mark Hamill dismissed the charge on the merits of the case.

In November 2016, the former UDR man pleaded guilty to evading tariffs and engaging in unlicensed credit activity.

The convictions concerned his company, SC Newsagents in Newtownards, where he had laundered £ 15,000 in a loyalist loan sharking transaction between September 2005 and September 2012.

Police suspected he was using his business as cover to launder money from a loan shark transaction in which customers were alleged to pay 20% on the loans. A previous court hearing learned that £ 15,414 in Coulter’s possession came from the proceeds of the transaction.

Trader Coulter was previously the director of a security services company in Ards which was dissolved four years ago.


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