Tuesday 15 October 2019

Driver who had two fully load revolvers in car when stopped by gardai sentenced to six-and-a-half years

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Sonya McLean

A father of one who was stopped by gardaí in a car that had two fully loaded revolvers in the glove box has been sentenced to six and half years with the final 18 months suspended.

William McCarthy (28) of Spencer Dock, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of two .38 special calibre Smith and Wesson revolvers at Monastery Gate Avenue, Clondalkin on March 30, 2018. His 72 previous convictions include drug offences and 50 road traffic offences.

Detective Garda Tony Kennedy told Garret Baker BL, prosecuting, that a black Ford Mondeo was under surveillance following a tip off to gardaí. The vehicle was parked up at Monastery Gate Avenue, and McCarthy was later spotted sitting in the driver's seat.

Gardaí saw McCarthy lean over and reach towards the glove box in the vehicle. He began to drive the car out of the estate before officers stopped him.

Det Gda Kennedy said that McCarthy reversed the vehicle into a patrol car, before an armed officer approached him and instructed him to get out but McCarthy refused. The glove box was open and the revolvers were spotted in two clear packages.

McCarthy was physically removed from the Mondeo and arrested. He made no admissions in a subsequent garda interview.

Det Gda Kennedy told Mr Baker that the weapons were forensically analysed and found to be in good working condition. They were fully loaded, with five bullets in each revolver.

Det Gda Kennedy agreed with Kerida Naidoo SC, defending that this appeared to be a once off incident for McCarthy.

He accepted that McCarthy claimed that he was put under pressure, due to a drug debt, to get involved in the offence and the detective agreed that “he is not in a position to dispute that”.

McCarthy told the court that he wanted to apologise “for the circumstances that brought me here today”.

“My Dad got cancer and I went downhill. I was not in the right head space. They kept knocking on me door, harassing me and asking me for the money. It was a bad decision at the time,” McCarthy said before he added that he had done it to clear a drug debt.

He said that when his daughter was born in February 2015, he stopped taking drugs but relapsed when his father became ill.

McCarthy's father has since passed away and he was granted compassionate bail to attend his funeral. “He honoured the terms and conditions of compassionate bail,” Mr Naidoo said.

Counsel submitted that his client was not involved in the criminality that “the court might naturally associate him with considering this type of offence”.

Mr Naidoo suggested that the prosecution would have found it difficult to prove that McCarthy had prior knowledge of what was in the car and said there was no forensic evidence connecting him to the guns.

He said that there were “reasonable prospects of rehabilitation” for McCarthy considering the fact that he had previously come off drugs. McCarthy has been remanded in custody since his arrest.

Judge Melanie Greally accepted that McCarthy had stayed out of trouble for three years following the birth of his child but his “father's illness prompted a relapse and he came into contact with those that he carried out this offence for”.

Judge Greally gave McCarthy credit for “an early and valuable plea” and accepted he was vulnerable to others to be used in this type of offence.

She suspended the final 18 months of a six and half year sentence on various conditions including that he engage with the Probation Service for 12 months upon his release.

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