| 11.8°C Dublin

Student with a fake gun led to armed garda alert





A STUDENT who was playing a shooting game with a friend got the shock of his life when armed gardai landed on the scene to arrest him, a court heard.

Alan Byrne (20) and a young friend were seen by an off-duty sergeant going into a wooded area in the Phoenix Park with what looked like a firearm.

The sergeant immediately called for armed garda back-up.

However, it later transpired the weapon was a pellet gun and Byrne and his friend had been playing in the bushes and shooting at each other.

Judge David McHugh accepted that it was "a game that got out of hand".

He ordered Byrne to donate €100 to Blanchardstown Hospice and said he'd apply the probation act.

The defendant, of Walkinstown Drive in Walkinstown, admitted before Blanchardstown District Court to possession of a realistic looking imitation firearm.

The incident took place at Military Road in the Phoenix Park on March 7 last.

Sergeant Maria Callaghan said Byrne and another youth were seen by an off-duty sergeant going into a wooded area of the Phoenix Park with what appeared to be a firearm.

The court heard that the off-duty officer, who was heading to work at garda headquarters, called for armed back-up when he saw the imitation firearm.

Sgt Callaghan said the weapon was later analysed by ballistics experts and it was found to be a pellet gun.

The court heard that armed gardai "scared the living daylights" out of Byrne when they arrived at the scene to arrest him.

Byrne's lawyer said that his client was playing a juvenile game with a friend, and the pair were running in and out of the bushes shooting at each other.

The court heard that Byrne, a culture and heritage studies student, did not see any harm in what he was doing.

He had co-operated fully with gardai and had apologised for his behaviour.