A promising boxer who joined the Irish army after an injury to his hand put an end to his sporting career has been jailed for four years after he was caught in possession of a 9mm calibre revolver.
Eric Wainsboro (aged 21) of Cherry Garth, Rivervalley, Swords, received a concurrent two-year jail term for an attack on a young man on Dublin’s O’Connell Street following an altercation between two groups of youths.
Wainsboro pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of the gun on Sarsfield Road, Ballyfermot and assault causing harm to Graham Weekes on Burgh Quay on dates between May 10, 2007 and August 19, 2008. He had 20 previous convictions and was not on bail when he was caught with the revolver.
Garda Padraig O’Meara told Mr Garrett Baker BL, prosecuting, that gardaí stopped a taxi at Ruby Finnegans Pub, on Sarsfield Road after receiving confidential information. Wainsboro, a back seat passenger in the car, was searched and the unloaded revolver was found hidden in his sock along with four rounds of ammunition in his pocket.
Two other people, the second passenger in the car, and a man who later arrived in the pub, were also questioned but were never charged.
Gda O’Meara said that the revolver was a starting gun that had been reconstructed for use as a lethal weapon.
Garda Brendan Wright told Ms Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting, that he was called to the scene of the assault in May 2007 and found Mr Weekes covered in blood and lying on the ground.
The victim was taken to hospital but discharged the next day after doctors were satisfied he had not sustained significant injuries to his skull or brain, although he had suffered some facial injuries.
Gda Wright said that although Mr Weekes had no recollection of the attack, witnesses gave gardaí a good description of the culprits and Wainsboro was later arrested.
He admitted that there had been a row between him and a number of men but claimed "it was just a fight. I just hit him with my fists".
Friends of Mr Weekes later stated that there had been words exchanged between the two groups before Wainsboro hit the victim in the face, knocking him to the ground. He then continued to kick him while he lay there.
Judge Katherine Delahunt said that the possession of the revolver represented a significant step up the criminal ladder for Wainsboro and said that he was fortunate that Mr Weekes had recovered from the attack in the manner he had.
She noted that he had a supportive family and partner and was the father of a young child before she sentenced him to four years in prison.
Gda O’Meara agreed with Mr John Byrne BL, defending, that gardaí had information that his client was due to hand over the firearm to another person that day and that one of the men who was later questioned had given the weapon to Wainsboro.
Mr Byrne told Judge Delahunt that his client had no formal qualifications or education having left school at a young age but he had promising career in boxing from the time he was 15 to 18 years old. He competed at a high stage at amateur level and at one time had been the national amateur champion.
He said that Wainsboro started to abuse both alcohol and cocaine while in the army which led him to being absent without leave on numerous occasions. He eventually paid €300 to buy himself out of service.
He told Judge Delahunt that since his client’s remand in custody in August last year he has addressed both his alcohol and drug problem.