Monday 25 March 2019

Dublin criminal jailed for having gun and silencer after garda confrontation

Andrew O’Keefe’s fingerprints were on the bag containing the Beretta handgun and silencer
Andrew O’Keefe’s fingerprints were on the bag containing the Beretta handgun and silencer

Alison O'Riordan

A Dublin man has been jailed for eight years by the Special Criminal Court for having a Beretta handgun and silencer after a confrontation with armed gardaí during which an officer opened fire on a jeep.

The three-judge court heard the defendant was restrained on the ground by gardaí as the driver of the jeep drove straight at them in a narrow roadway. Gardaí who were in a "very vulnerable position" called at the driver to stop before one of the officers drew his firearm and seven shots were fired.

Andrew O'Keeffe (29), from Drumcliff Road, Cabra West, Dublin 7, pleaded guilty in June to possessing a 9mm Beretta handgun and silencer in suspicious circumstances at Kylemore Way in Inchicore, Dublin, on September 6, 2017.

Sentencing the defendant to nine years imprisonment with one year suspended, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said while the accused was not the driver of the van there were very "serious episodes" of dangerous driving which put the public at risk.

O'Keeffe has 71 previous convictions which include assault causing harm, violent disorder, public order and theft.

Presiding judge Mr Justice Hunt, sitting with Judge Patricia Ryan and Judge Michael Walsh, addressed O'Keeffe saying: "For a young man you have a shocking record".

Andrew O'Keeffe
Andrew O'Keeffe

At a sentence hearing on July 24, Detective Inspector David Gallagher, from the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, told the court gardaí were dispatched to Ballyfermot on September 6 last year on foot of information about a white Citroen Berlingo van and a firearm.

The court heard a Garda patrol car drove into Raheen Park in Ballyfermot where a white Citroen Berlingo van was observed parked with one male occupant wearing black sunglasses and a black baseball cap in the driver's seat.

The van took off at speed, driving through a red light in the direction of Kylemore Way in Inchicore.

O'Keeffe was not the driver of the van and gardaí were unaware at the time that there was a second person in the vehicle. A plastic bag was thrown from the passenger window of the van before it came to a sudden stop at a set of bollards. O'Keeffe and the driver then exited the van and ran through the bollards in the direction of another vehicle, a Hyundai Tucson, which was parked a short distance away.

As both men were running in the direction of this jeep, gardaí caught up with O'Keeffe.

The driver of the car drove straight at gardaí and this is when the officer fired the seven shots. Following this, O'Keeffe was arrested and brought to Ballyfermot garda station.

Det Insp Gallagher said a Beretta handgun fitted with a silencer was retrieved from the plastic bag which had been thrown from the window of the van. O'Keeffe's fingerprints were found on the plastic bag.

Irish Independent

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