Man found guilty after five-week burglary trial

A man who gardaí claimed was spotted with a Remington 12-guage pump-action shotgun during an attempted burglary at a family home on the outskirts of Cork City, was yesterday found guilty at a jury trial.

After a five-week trial, a jury took almost four hours to find Niall Fitzpatrick guilty, by a majority verdict, on all four charges against him.

Fitzpatrick, aged 47, with an address at Corrin Close, The Glen, Cork, was remanded in custody by Judge David Riordan for sentencing on Thursday, November 13.

Fitzpatrick was found guilty on all charges by a 10-2 majority verdict.

He had denied charges of possession of a Remington 12-guage pump-action shotgun and ammunition, attempted burglary, and attempted aggravated burglary at the home of Patrick Glavin at Rougrane, Glanmire, on August 11, 2013.

In the evidence presented in recent weeks, Sergeant Daniel Coholan of the Regional Support Unit said he and colleagues were present in a shed outside the Glavin house at 10.30pm on August 11 last year, one officer having left a window ajar at the office in the house.

Sgt Coughlan said he saw three men approaching the house, with one of them climbing up on the windowsill to the office where the window was open.

An officer detonated a stun grenade giving off what was described as “three million candles of light to disorientate the three men”.

Sgt Coughlan said he activated the torch of his sub-machine gun and pointed it at the accused, also activating the red light laser of the weapon.

The sergeant said: “I could see three persons staring at me. In the middle was Niall Fitzpatrick, the defendant in this case. Mr Fitzpatrick was holding a shotgun.

“The three people appeared momentarily stunned, dazed, disoriented and appeared to be considering their position for a number of seconds. I shouted, ‘Armed gardaí, drop your weapon.’

“I pointed my gun on the chest of Niall Fitzpatrick who was wearing a green top, dark pants, and he had a hat or a balaclava not pulled down.

“I was seriously concerned Mr Fitzpatrick was going to shoot me or one of my colleagues. The weapon was not pointed at me but I was extremely concerned it would be raised and pointed at me or my colleagues.”

He said the three men jumped over a wall to get away. Two were caught shortly afterwards and the accused got away.

Fitzpatrick denied being present at the scene on the night and told gardaí during an interview he had spent the day fishing, buying dinner, making dinner, playing with his children, and later drinking with friends.

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