Teen accused of having gun pleads with court not to take passport as she needs it 'to get into nightclubs'

A young woman has been accused of possessing a Smith & Wesson revolver and five rounds of ammunition at her home in Dublin when she was 17.

Teen accused of having gun pleads with court not to take passport as she needs it 'to get into nightclubs'

A young woman has been accused of possessing a Smith & Wesson revolver and five rounds of ammunition at her home in Dublin when she was 17.

Tia Byrne, now aged 18, with an address at Sheriff Street Lower, Dublin pleaded with a court not to force her to surrender her passport which she needed as ID to get into nightclubs.

She was charged this morning at Store Street garda station.

She was accused of two offences under the Firearms Act for unlawful possession of a .38 calibre Smith & Wesson air-weight special revolver and five rounds of .38 special calibre Sellier and Bellot ammunition.

The gun and bullets were allegedly seized at her home address on February 18, 2018.

She appeared at the Dublin Children’s Court because the alleged offence happened when she was a minor. However, Judge Brendan Toale heard the teen has reached adulthood.

Legal aid was granted to the 18-year-old part-time worker.

She spoke briefly during the hearing and said how much she earned, however, there has been no indication as to how she intended to plead.

Garda Sandra Kirwan said the defendant “made no reply to the charges after caution”.

There was no objection to bail subject to conditions.

Defence solicitor Michelle Finan said this was the first time Ms Byrne had been in court or on bail.

Garda Kirwan asked Judge Toale to order the defendant to surrender her passport and to reside at her address and to sign on twice weekly at Store Street station. She cited the seriousness of the charge and possible flight risk.

The passport was handed over to gardaí in court.

The solicitor pointed out that her client had been detained under Section 30 of the Offences Against The State Act, 1939 at the time of the alleged offence.

She later travelled to Spain but returned and she met gardaí by arrangement. “The allegation emanates from a time she was a juvenile, she has reached majority,” the solicitor said, meaning she was now an adult.

The defendant also told the court she needed her passport as “I’ve no ID for when I’m going out”.

The solicitor said the young woman required it “to get into nightclubs”.

The garda asked for it to be surrendered but said it could be given back if the defendant wished to go on holidays.

Judge Toale ordered that it was to be handed over to gardaí but they must facilitate her if she needed it to obtain an alternative photo ID. He told her she had to reside at her current address but he did not impose a signing-on condition.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has directed the teen, who was accompanied to court by her father, must face trial on indictment. This means the case will be dealt with at Circuit Court level.

She was remanded on €100 bail to appear again in eight weeks to be served with a book of evidence and returned for trial.

In juvenile cases, the Children’s Court can consider accepting jurisdiction despite the DPP directions but the defendant’s solicitor said that did not apply.

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