Two men jailed for six years after gardaí found guns inside pencil case

A stone mason and fluent French speaker and another man have been sentenced to six years by the Special Criminal Court for the possession of two loaded handguns found inside a pencil case.

Brian Walsh, aged 44, and Anthony Carroll, aged 31, were wearing forensic suits when the van they were in was searched by gardaí on Deanrock Avenue in Togher, Cork, on February 23 last year.

Walsh, with an address at Connolly Rd, Ballyphehane, and Carroll, of Curaheen Close, Bishopstown, had pleaded not guilty to the unlawful possession of a Walther pistol, a Smith & Wesson revolver, and 12 rounds of ammunition.

The non-jury court heard that the loaded & handguns were secreted inside a pencil case found by gardaí inside the van.

Evidence was heard that Brian Walsh, who has lived in France for a number of years, was the driver of the van, while father-of-three Anthony Carroll was discovered by gardaí on the floor in the back, which was partitioned from the driver’s compartment by black plastic.

Both men were wearing forensic suits and a Garda search of the van uncovered a broken mobile phone, rubber gloves, shoes, runners, “a lot of plastic bags”, a wig, a container of bleach, petrol cans, and a homemade wick.

The van was registered to a non-existent address in Rathmore, Co Kerry.

In its judgment, the Special Criminal Court found that there was sufficient evidence of possession or of constructive possession of the firearms and ammunition for a joint enterprise and an unlawful purpose.

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