Monday 22 January 2018

Grandfather caught with shotgun told gardai people were trying to kill him

Stock picture
Stock picture

Fiona Ferguson

A grandfather caught with a sawn off shotgun hidden in his back garden told gardai that people were trying to kill him, a court has heard.

Donal O'Hara (51) had also been caught a year earlier growing cannabis plants in a master bedroom of his home and was on bail for that offence when gardai discovered the firearm.

O'Hara, of Glin Park, Coolock, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to cultivation of cannabis at his home on February 11, 2015. He also pleaded guilty to possession of a 12 gauge single barrel sawn off shotgun and shotgun cartridges at his home on June 22, 2016.

O'Hara has 29 previous convictions including drugs, public order and road traffic offences. He does not have any previous convictions for firearms offences.

Judge Patricia Ryan adjourned sentencing to March 3.

Garda Joe McBride told Noel Devitt BL, prosecuting, that gardai acting on confidential information searched O'Hara's home on February 11, 2015 and found 72 cannabis plants at an early stage of growth in the master bedroom. O'Hara said he was growing the plants for his own use.

The court heard the plants had a potential street value of €55,600 if they were all female and all grew to full maturity. It was not determined if the plant were male or female.

Garda Alan Roche told Mr Devitt that on June 22, 2016 gardai acting on confidential information searched O'Hara's home and found a sawn off shotgun and cartridges in a bag in a trailer at the rear of the house. O'Hara had assisted gardai in locating the item.

He told gardai that people were trying to kill him and he would let off a shot if someone came near the house but he was not into killing people. “This has to come to an end one day,” O'Hara said, “they will put me in a box.”

Gda Roche said there had been a chronological series of serious incidents at the house in the previous years including an unknown person firing four or five shots at O'Hara.

On examination, the firearm was found to be in poor condition and the forensic team were not prepared to fire it. O'Hara told gardai he had carried out “some small repairs” on the weapon.

Gda Roche agreed with Luigi Rea BL, defending, that there had been a number of incidents at the house including threats made to one of O'Hara's sons and a gun put to his face. Another son received a warning from gardai that his life was in imminent danger.

Mr Rea said O'Hara's wife's car had been smashed and there had also been a shooting outside O'Hara's home as well as shots fired through a window on another date.

Gda Roche agreed that O'Hara told gardai an unknown person had presented him with the weapon.

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News