Man blames dog after grenade found in shoebox

A shaggy dog story about a grenade found by gardaí in a shoe box in a bedroom saw a man blaming his jack russell for finding it and dragging it in from the garden.

Man blames dog after grenade found in shoebox

That was the explanation of Stephen Varian, aged 21, after gardaí searched his home at 141 Farranferris Avenue, Farranree, Cork.

The problem for him yesterday at Cork Circuit Appeals court was that the gardaí did not believe the explanation, and neither did the judge.

At one point in challenging the version of events given by Varian, state solicitor Frank Nyhan suggested that if the jack russell was as good as Varian claimed, then the gardaí should probably be hiring the dog.

Sgt Dermot Sheedy said gardaí obtained a warrant for a drugs search at the accused man’s home on June 27, 2013.

“In the course of the search of his bedroom, a shoebox was found with a plastic bag inside, and inside the bag was a grenade. The house had to be evacuated,” the sergeant said, adding that a bomb disposal unit had to be called. It turned out that it was a smoke grenade.

“He said his dog found the grenade in the back garden. He [the accused] thought it was a battery.

“A cannabis joint was also found. He admitted the cannabis was for his own use,” said the sergeant.

As for the blame being put on the jack russell, Judge Donagh McDonagh said: “He must have tremendous jaws, I don’t believe the dog found it.”

Varian got a six-month sentence at Cork District Court for the offence under the Explosive Substances Act of 1883 for having the smoke grenade at his home for an unlawful purpose.

However, at Cork Circuit Appears Court yesterday, the judge told the appellant’s barrister, Paula McCarthy, that he would increase the sentence to 12 months but suspend it. While the grenade turned out to be a smoke grenade, the explanation that the dog did it turned out to be something of a ball of smoke.

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