Angler produced air pistol after licence request

A fisheries officer who asked an angler for his licence retreated from the riverbank when the fisherman produced an air pistol and held it down by his side.

Detective Garda Pat Condon said the water amenity officer was on duty near the damn at Inniscarra, Co Cork, on May 25 when he approached Constantin Balan, who lives at an apartment at Neptune, Harty’s Quay, Rochestown, Cork.

Balan pleaded guilty to producing the air pistol to intimidate the fisheries officer.

Pat Barrett, defending, said the accused was never in trouble in his life, came from Romania to Ireland four years ago, and has a full-time job.

“This was an uncharacteristic moment of madness… He is a man of impeccable character,” said Mr Barrett.

In fairness to the defendant, Detective Garda Pat Condon agreed that it was very much out of character.

The detective also said that the air pistol did not constitute a weapon and it was not illegal to have it. However, the charge was brought on the basis of it being produced in a manner that could intimidate.

“But I do agree, it does appear to be out of character,” said Det Garda Condon.

The detective said it was only held by the fisherman’s side and was never pointed or used in any other way.

Mr Barrett said the angler only had the air pistol for innocent purposes.

“He would shoot it in the stream, not at anything, just a way of letting off steam,” said Mr Barrett.

Judge Olann Kelleher said he was conscious of what the investigating garda had said and he directed the preparation of a probation report.

The judge put the matter back until February 14.

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