Man who collected weapons after threats is remanded on bail pending sentence

A father of one who picked up two shotguns and ammunition from a derelict house after a man threatened to put a hand grenade through his window has been remanded on bail pending sentence.

Judge Tony Hunt told defence counsel Mr Gerry O'Brien SC that he could understand Sean Ward's reason for taking the guns but said "if everyone dealt with things in this way it would result in a Western-movie situation leading to shoot-outs etc".

He added that he felt it was "an important feature in the case" that Ward had not come to Garda attention in the last three years and said it would be in the public interest to encourage him to stay out of trouble.

Judge Hunt said it was a serious offence which would "ordinarily attract a custodial sentence" before he added that it was "a troubling case".

"If this kind of thing ends with a suspended sentence I can see people having trouble with it," Judge Hunt said before he ordered a probation report so he could get more information but he told Mr O'Brien that Ward was "not to be under any illusions".

Ward (aged 23) of Balcurris Road, Ballymun pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of two shotguns and cartridges at his home on November 26, 2005.

He had 18 previous convictions, including an 18-month sentence for assault after a row broke out over a stolen car.

One man, Mr Christopher Doyle was stabbed to death during the dispute but it was accepted that Ward had no culpability in relation to the killing.

He had pleaded guilty to assaulting Stephen Walsh, a friend of Mr Doyle's, causing him harm outside a block of flats in Ballymun on November 1, 2004.

Garda David McKinley told Mr Pieter Le Vert BL, prosecuting, that a pump-action shotgun and a dismantled shotgun where found under a bath in Ward's home. A number of shotgun cartridges were also discovered in a bedroom.

Ward later told gardaí that a woman had blamed him as being responsible for "some incident" the previous day. A verbal argument broke out between the two which led to her boyfriend threatening to shoot Ward dead.

This same man then arrived at Ward's mother's home that day and threatened to throw a hand grenade through the window. The accused's girlfriend and young son were in the house at the time.

He told gardaí he couldn't name the man who had been threatening him because it would be putting him and his family in danger.

Ward told Judge Hunt that he took the man's threat seriously and he had overheard someone say that there were guns in this derelict house. He said they were only in the house three hours when the gardaí arrived.

He said he did have a drink and drug problem at the time but had weaned himself off drugs and now only drinks rarely. His mother died last year.

Mr O'Brien asked Judge Hunt to accept that his client had made efforts to rehabilitate and create a future for himself and his son. He said he had been applying for a number of courses to try and secure stable employment.

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