Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said it was an extremely serious offence and he imposed a seven-year jail term on David Butt with the last two years suspended at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
The judge said aggravating factors in the case were that Butt inveigled a totally innocent young woman into driving the car so the suspicions of gardaí would not be raised, and that the gun was sawn-off. He said there was no conceivable legal use for a sawn-off shotgun.
As for Butt’s statement to gardaí that he owed someone a favour, the judge said it was hard to imagine what Butt would have done to incur a debt to be repaid by transporting a gun and ammunition.
Butt, aged 30, with an address at Belgrave Place, Wellington Road, was previously arraigned on two charges at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
He pleaded guilty to having a 12-gauge Purdey double-barrel sawn-off shotgun at Clogheenmilcon, Blarney, Co Cork, on April 22, and having five 12-gauge shotgun cartridges together with 33 .22 long rifle calibre Winchester rounds of ammunition and two similar .22 long rifle rounds.
Detective Garda Alan Johnson said gardaí were conducting a checkpoint when they stopped the car in which Butt was a front seat passenger. They observed him trying to conceal something under the front passenger seat.
They got him out of the car on to the ground outside the car. The gun was located under the seat and the ammunition was in his pockets.
He was interviewed on five occasions over the following days and admitted having the gun but did not provide information on where it was retrieved from or to where it was destined. They believed it was to be brought to Cork city but Butt did not tell them that.
Det Garda Johnson said Butt had 51 previous convictions including one for violent disorder for which he got a four-year sentence.
Dermot Sheehan, defending, said Butt was a heroin addict but had weaned himself off the drug. In Butt’s own words he said of the incident involving the gun and ammunition, “I owed a fella a favour.”