Saturday 16 December 2017

Dublin man jailed for seven years for revolver possession after uncontested trial

Brian Kavanagh

A Dublin man who was convicted of the possession of a firearm after an uncontested trial today has been jailed for seven years at the Special Criminal Court.

Father-of-four Dermot Gannon (45), of Wellview Crescent, Mulhuddart, was charged with the unlawful possession of a Webley revolver at Beechgrove Avenue, Ballinacura Weston, Limerick on January 11, 2012.

The court formally recorded a plea of not guilty on Gannon’s behalf after he declined to enter a plea and refused to stand when the charges were put to him by the court registrar.

After an uncontested trial that lasted just half an hour, Presiding judge Mr Justice Paul Butler said the court found that “all proofs have been satisfied” and that there was “no doubt” of Gannon’s guilt.

The court had heard evidence from Sergeant Arthur Ryan who found a Webley revolver in a brown envelope under the passenger seat of Gannon’s Ford Mondeo car after stopping and searching it during a routine patrol.

Sgt Ryan told prosecution counsel Mr Garnet Orange BL that when he asked Gannon “what the story was” with the gun, the defendant replied: “I own it, it’s mine”. He said that when a note of this conversation was later read over to Gannon in interview, the accused man confirmed its accuracy.

Detective Garda Susan Delaney told Mr Orange that as he was being conveyed to Henry Street Garda Station, Gannon made further comments admitting ownership of the firearm.

She said that in interview Gannon agreed that a note of these admissions was correct but refused to sign the note or sign the memo of interview. Det Gda Delaney said that in a subsequent interview, Gannon told gardai that he had put the revolver in to the car.

Delivering sentence, Mr Justice Butler said the court had considered evidence that Gannon was separated from his wife and had ten previous convictions, including a number for violent behaviour.

He said the most significant of these was a Special Criminal Court conviction for membership of an unlawful organisation on October 17, 1999, for which Gannon received a four year sentence.

Mr Justice Butler said that as far as the court was aware Gannon had cooperated completely with gardai during the search of his car and in interview.

He said that although Gannon did not enter a plea, he did not contest the trial which was “almost tantamount to a plea of guilty” and which the court would treat as a mitigating factor.

Mr Justice Butler said the court considered the appropriate sentence to be one of seven years to date from when Gannon first entered custody on January 11 of this year.

However, Mr Justice Butler said the court would not suspend any portion of that sentence as it had no evidence as to Gannon’s future conduct and would consider suspending part of a sentence “only on a promise and not on a mere hope”.

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