Dublin man may avoid jail for unlawful possession of a weapon

A 29-year-old industrial window cleaner might be spared the mandatory five-year sentence for having a sawn-off shot gun in a stolen car he was driving.

Martin Walsh of Balbutcher Drive, Ballymun pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to unlawful possession of the gun on April 30, 2007 at Swords Road, Santry.

The father-of-four also pleaded guilty before Judge Frank O’Donnell to unlawful use of a car.

Garda Eamon Keane told prosecuting counsel, Mr Vincent Heneghan BL, that gardaí set up a check point after being tipped off that Walsh would be in a stolen Ford Mondeo and that the registration would be changed.

When the weapon and three shotgun cartridges were found in the boot, Walsh said he had just bought the car for €200 and knew nothing about the gun. He later said he had been paid €200 to move the car.

Gda Keane said that when Walsh’s fingerprints were found on the gun, he said he learned of the gun after seeing it in the boot when collecting it. He said he was told to get in the car and follow someone else but the person he was following got through the checkpoint.

Gda Keane said Walsh, who plans to marry soon, had 12 previous convictions, including possession of drugs for sale or supply.

Gda Keane agreed with defence counsel, Mr Pádraig Dwyer SC, that he accepted Walsh’s story about the gun.

He also agreed with Mr Dwyer that Walsh had a heroin addiction when he committed the crime but was looking healthier now. He was upset when arrested but, despite all his previous convictions, had never spent time in jail.

Mr Dwyer submitted that Walsh left school at 14 and started working at 15. His children were aged eight, five, four and 15 months and he volunteered at a local football club. He said Walsh was now drug free but had no proof of this and asked for time to prepare such proof.

Judge O’Donnell said he had plenty of time before the court hearing.

"I don’t have a lot of sympathy for this man," he said, but agreed to remand him on bail until January for preparation of a probation report.


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