A BRAY MAN who had a gun in the boot of his car was jailed for three years when he appeared before Wicklow Circuit Court recently.
Terence O'Neill (33) 5 Dargle Crescent, Bray was charged with possession of a submachine gun and silencer at Sidmonton Square on February 2, 2012.
Garda James Reynolds said his attention was drawn to the driving of O'Neill's vehicle on the day in question and followed him stopping him at Sidmonton Square.
He spoke to O'Neill about motoring offences and seized the vehicle.
O'Neill then began to act suspiciously and panicked walking to the boot of the car on two occasions.
O'Neill then went to take a small case from the boot saying it was painting tools.
When Garda Reynolds asked to look at it O'Neill said there were bullets in the case and said he owned them.
The car was then searched and the submachine gun and silencer was found.
The court heard the gun was in good condition and had no serial number. It had no distinguishing marks.
The gun was capable of discharging in fully automatic mode.
The court heard more than 170 rounds of ammunition were found.
During interview O'Neill said he had been approached by a man asking him to carry out a job for cash.
He was told to go to the Sally Gap and leave the boot ajar.
When he returned to the car he was aware something had been placed in it and was directed to keep the gun and ammunition for further notice.
O'Neill said he initially thought he had collected drugs but later realised they weren't drugs after he was instructed to hold onto the package for some time.
He said, 'I never looked at them. If I had looked at them I would have gotten rid of them.'
O'Neill said he had had the gun and ammunition for about a month before being stopped by gardaí.
The court heard O'Neill had three previous convictions.
Garda Reynolds agreed with defending counsel Ed Sweetman, BL, that during interview O'Neill said, 'I lost the woman I love and two kids I love. I'll have to live with this.' The court heard O'Neill's relationship had broken up on his arrest.
Mr. Sweetman said O'Neill comes from a good family and had left school early to take up a job as a painter and decorator.
The court heard he was in custody since he was charged on February 4 although he had been granted bail.
O'Neill, he said, had been candid with gardaí and ' hadn't attempted to hide what he was in it for'.
He said O'Neill was 'used by a more dangerous person. He accepts he did something very wrong.'
Judge Michael O'Shea said ' in the wrong hand this is a very dangerous weapon and could cause serious harm. It carries a real and serious risk to life and society.'
He said O'Neill who was in ongoing financial difficulties had met a person of 'dubious character' and transported the gun in his car for a month.
He said O'Neill had assisted gardaí ' as much as he could' and took full responsibility for his part.
He sentenced O'Neill to three years imprisonment which he backdated to February 2, 2012.