Armed gardaí rushed to Blarney St, in Cork City, when it was reported that a man was brandishing a firearm. They saw the armed man hide behind a parked car.
Det Garda Tony Devane testified, yesterday, that he pointed his legally held submachine gun at the man, who was kneeling behind the car, and shouted: “Armed gardaí, show me your hands.” Martin Long raised his hands over his head immediately and he was not holding anything.
Yesterday, he was sentenced to six months in prison for the offence on February 9, 2015.
Det Garda Devane shone the light from his submachine gun under the parked car and saw what looked like a revolver. The detective put on blue latex gloves and recovered what turned out to be a replica.
Joseph Cuddigan, defence barrister, said it was a replica of an old Colt 45, which, he said, used to be called a “peacemaker” in the Wild West.
Garda Seán Murray, who was also present, said when he saw Long, aged 24, of Loughaderra, Castlemartyr, County Cork, carrying the firearm, “I was 100% it was a real firearm, at the time.”
Mr Cuddigan said the accused admitted having the replica. He said the only defence available was authorisation or a reasonable excuse. Long, yesterday, pleading not guilty, on the basis that his reasonable excuse was that he was showing it to his friend.
Long said he did not point it at anyone and that if he had pointed it, it would have been at his friend. He said he had met the friend in the pub, told him he had the replica revolver, went to get it from under a bed at his girlfriend’s house, and showed it to his friend on the street.
Long believed that it was his girlfriend who called the guards and who then locked him out. When questioned by Det Garda Aidan Forrest, Long said: “I told her I had this and didn’t want to carry it down town. I wanted to get it home safe.”
Det Garda Forrest said the young woman told gardaí that Long had threatened to throw a rock through her window that night.
Long replied: “Where would I get a rock on Blarney St? After all I did for her, bought her cars, brought her to Australia, shit for thanks. I never get a minute’s peace with her, she is all drama. She knows how to trigger my buttons.”
Long said he threw the gun under the car as soon as the guards told him to put his hands up, because he did not want to get shot.
Judge Olann Kelleher said he did not accept the excuse that it was reasonable for Long to show it to his friend and he convicted him. Inspector Ronan Kenneally said the accused had 18 previous convictions, including for being threatening and obstructing gardaí.
Mr Cuddigan said: “There is nothing to suggest he has any connection with a subversive organisation.” Judge Olann Kelleher said: “I take this matter very seriously — a crowded area and a man brandishing a gun. It was a replica, but no doubt gardaí were worried.”
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