A Belfast taxi driver has been charged with assault, possession of a pistol, and making threats to kill after being filmed allegedly brandishing a gun toward a passenger.

Brian Stalford, 48, of Park Avenue, Belfast, appeared in Laganside Magistrates' Court in Belfast via video link on Saturday morning accused of possession of a pistol-type weapon with intent on March 26. 

He was also charged with unlawful assault and threat to kill on the same date. Stalford was further charged with possession of cocaine on June 1. 

Stalford was arrested during the week after a video surfaced on social media appearing to show him brandishing a weapon toward a front-seat passenger. The video also appeared to show Stalford hitting the passenger with the weapon. 

The court heard on Saturday that Stalford is an "enforcer" for loyalist drug dealers linked to the East Belfast UVF. However, Detective Constable Campbell told the court that there was nothing to suggest that Stalford was a member of the UVF. 

Campbell told the court that he could connect Stalford to the charges. 

The suspected firearm seen in the video has not been recovered, Campbell added. 

Stalford's solicitors told the court that the incident was a joke, adding that the passengers were playing along. 

They further told the court that Stalford made it "very clear" to detectives that the gun was a toy and that the passengers were in on the joke. 

The lawyer said everyone in the video knew each other and had consented to what had occurred. 

He added that Stalford had no intention of causing fear, intimidation, or fear of violence. 

Stalford only spoke to confirm that he understood the charges brought against him. 

Stalford was refused bail over risks of reoffending and interfering with the investigation. He will appear before the court again on June 30.