Thursday 18 January 2018

Man (49) sentenced by Special Criminal Court to 11 years in prison for possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives

The Special Criminal Court
The Special Criminal Court

Daniel Hickey

A Dublin man has been sentenced by the Special Criminal Court to eleven years in prison for possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives.

In November, 2014, gardai found what the court's presiding judge described as an "arsenal" of weapons at the man's home, the court heard.

Stephen Hendrick (49), of Balbutcher Drive, Ballymun, Dublin 11 pleaded guilty last year to the possession of 59 rounds of ammunition of various calibres and brands at Furry Park, Turnapin Great, Old Airport Road, Cloghran on July 3rd, 2013.

On a second bill of indictment, Hendrick pleaded guilty to the unlawful possession in suspicious circumstances of a 7.62 mm Kalashnikov assault rifle and various components for Glock pistols at his home on November 15th, 2014.

He also admitted to the unlawful possession of ammunition, including 125 rounds of Kalashnikov rifle ammunition and five shotgun cartridges, also at his home and on the same date.

The third charge on the indictment, to which Hendrick also pleaded guilty, was the unlawful possession of an explosive substance - flexible tubing filled with PETN explosive - at his home on the same date.

The court heard today that Hendrick committed the latter offences, from November 2014, while on bail for the first.

At the sentence hearing, Detective Inspector William Hanrahan, of the Special Detective Unit (SDU), told prosecuting counsel Vincent Heneghan BL that, after receiving confidential information, gardai searched a container at Furry Park, near Dublin Airport. 

The court heard that the search lasted for three days and gardai found 59 rounds of ammunition. 

Det Insp Hanrahan told Hugh Hartnett SC, defending, that Hendrick's guilty pleas were "of significance" and that while in custody he was compliant and co-operative.

Detective Sergeant Padraig Boyce, also of the SDU, told Mr Heneghan that on November 15th, 2014, gardai searched Hendrick's home in Ballymun, where they found pistols, an AK47, the explosive substance PETN, shotgun cartridges and 125 rounds of AK47 ammunition.

The detective told the court that Hendricks was "importing firearms into this jurisdiction".

The offence had been committed while he was on bail, the court heard. 

Det Sgt Boyce also told the court that Hendrick, a carpenter by trade, is a "good family man".

Presiding at the three-judge, non-jury court, Mr Justice Paul Butler said that the first offence, dating from July, 2013, was "less serious" than the second and that an appropriate sentence should be three years in prison, dating from October 30th, 2014.

Mr Justice Butler said that the offences dating from November, 2014, were "far more serious".

He said that the list of items found at Hendrick's home "read like an arsenal".

The court sentenced Hendrick to eight years for each of the three counts, with each term to run concurrently, and consecutive with the first prison sentence. 

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