Man told gardaí where friend had hidden stolen gun
A TRALEE man who was charged with handling a stolen shotgun was ultimately commended by a district court judge when it emerged that he was the one who phoned gardaí and told them where his friend had hidden the gun.
William O'Brien - who amended his address from Sunday's Well to 34 Fountain Court, Tralee at Thursday's sitting of Listowel District Court - was charged with handling the stolen gun at Ballingeragh, Lixnaw, on April 22 last.
The court heard that Mr O'Brien drove a friend home to Lixnaw because they had said they wanted to collect something.
The person then returned to the car with what turned out to be a shotgun hidden under their jumper. Mr O'Brien and his friend drove around for a while but then the other person opted to hide the gun a few miles away.
Inspector Tony Sugrue said that Mr O'Brien later contacted gardaí and told them where the gun was and made a full statement admitting his involvement and confirming that the gun was taken from his friend's family home without the owner's permission.
Solicitor Pat Daly said that while his client was driving the car with the shotgun in it, it was he who alerted gardaí to the whereabouts of the gun when he became "concerned as to the state of mind" of his friend.
He said Mr O'Brien essentially arranged for the gun to be taken our of circulation and said the case would never have come to court had he not made the call. He described the charge against his client as 'unusual' and suggested that it was more of a technical nature.
Judge Tim Lucey agreed and commended the young man for taking action when he became concerned about what the other person was planning to do with the gun. "It seems to me that this man did the right thing and he must be given credit for that," the judge said, before convicting him and imposing a fine of €250.