A Dublin man has avoided a jail term after he was caught carrying a sawn off shot gun in a shopping bag on a public street.
Ross Hutch (21) pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of the firearm on Sean McDermott Street on May 25, 2012.
Garda Michael Galligan told Garnet Orange BL, prosecuting, he recognised Hutch and noticed he was “well wrapped up” despite the warm weather.
He stopped him and asked what was in the supermarket bag he was holding. Hutch dropped the bag and ran but was caught nearby.
A 12 gauge sawn off shot gun was found in the bag.
The court heard that the firearm had been taken during a burglary in Blessington, Co Wicklow in January 2008. No one was ever arrested for this burglary.
Hutch of Portland Place, Dublin, has 53 previous convictions including assault, dangerous driving and endangerment, robbery, violent disorder and offences under the theft and fraud act.
Sean Gillane SC, defending, said his client was under threat from others at the time of the offence.
He said Hutch had a serious drug addiction but has since successfully completed a five month residential treatment programme and is doing a FÁS scheme.
Judge Mary Ellen Ring accepted that the father of one had positive references before the court from a local youth project and boxing club where he has worked in the past.
She described it as “a serious offence” noting that the shotgun “had been in circulation” for four years prior to Hutch’s arrest, “in circumstances where it could have caused serious harm had it been utilised to its full extent”.
The judge accepted there was no evidence other than Hutch had the gun in his possession and commented that the fact he has tackled his drug addiction at such a young age was “perhaps exceptional”.
Hutch was sentenced to three years in prison which was suspended in full on strict conditions.
When he took the stand to take his peace bond, Judge Ring congratulated him on getting off drugs.