Monday 24 October 2016

Man who who claimed he found rusty rifle when he cycled over it jailed for two years

Fiona Ferguson

Published 11/04/2016 | 17:12

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A young father who claimed he found a rusty rifle when he cycled over it in a field has been given a two year sentence.

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Aaron McDermott (23) said he brought it home and left it inside the partition wall between his and his neighbours home.

He described it as a “rusty old yoke” but told gardaí it was “one of those things you just don't throw away”. He said he had it for about one month and was just going to leave it there.

McDermott, of Ratoath Avenue, Finglas, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of the firearm at his home on January 26, 2015. He has 73 previous convictions.

Judge Melanie Greally noted McDermott had long history of drug and alcohol misuse as well and had faced many challenges in his family and personal life.

She reactivated the suspended one year portion of a previous three year sentence imposed in March 2014 for attempted robbery. McDermott had been on temporary release at the time he committed the new offence.

Judge Greally then imposed a consecutive two year sentence with the final year suspended for the firearms offence.

Garda Christopher Sweeney told Sinead McMullen BL, prosecuting, that gardaí executing a search warrant at McDermott's home discovered a small bag of cannabis worth €20 under a bed and later found the weapon at the rear of the house between partition walls.

The stock and barrel of the rifle had been shortened. It was rusty but was capable of of being fired. There was no ammunition with the gun.

McDermott told the gardaí that he had been up the fields around Dunsink on his bike when he had driven over the a bag and found the gun inside. He said he picked it up and threw it between the walls in the back when he got home.

Ms McMullen said the Director of Public Prosecutions considered this offence to be at the low end of offending for the purpose of sentencing.

Gda Sweeney agreed with Seamus Clarke BL, defending, that McDermott was co-operative at the scene, answered all questions and admitted he knew it was illegal to have the gun.

Mr Clarke said McDermott had suffered several tragedies in his family background and had issues with anxiety and depression. He is the father of a young son who has cerebral palsy.

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