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Dublin: 5 °C Sunday 23 February, 2020

Boy (15) who had loaded semi-automatic pistol under his bed placed on probation bond

The gun, which had 11 rounds of ammunition in the magazine, was found in a school bag under a set of bunk beds.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/sirtravelalot

A 15-YEAR-OLD boy who had a loaded semi-automatic pistol under his bed after an older man asked him to keep it for a few days has been placed on a 12-month probation bond.

The now 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of the weapon at his family home on 3 December 2018.

He has no previous convictions and has not come to garda attention since, the court heard.

Garda Des McNally told Dara Hayes BL, prosecuting, that when gardaí arrived at the teenager’s home to search it following a tip-off, he told them there was something he wanted to show them.

The gun, which had 11 rounds of ammunition in the magazine, was found in a school bag under a set of bunk beds. Gardaí disarmed the weapon after the teenager warned them it was loaded, the court was told.

The boy told gardaí in a subsequent interview that he had travelled into Dublin city with an older man a few days earlier and the man collected the bag from a house. They got a taxi back from the city and the man told the teenager to keep the bag.

McNally said the teenager claimed the man said he would collect the bag the following day but when he failed to show up, the boy called around to his house with the bag in an attempt to get rid of it.

The man refused to take it and again told the boy he would call around and collect it but he never did. The boy told gardaí he was in fear and refused to disclose the name of this older man.

McNally said the teenager initially didn’t know what was in the bag, but when the man didn’t collect it he looked into it and realised it was a gun.

‘Made efforts to get gun out of house’

McNally agreed with Fiona Murphy SC, defending, that her client appeared relieved to hand the gun over to the gardaí and confirmed that he believed that the teenager had “made efforts” to get it out of his home.

He said he didn’t think the boy was going to use the gun himself and accepted he was put under pressure to take the bag.

The garda said the teenager would have been concerned about what would happen to him if he was suspected of speaking to gardaí.

Judge Melanie Greally said it was not clear how the teenager got himself into the company of this older man but said “it is clear that he was an unwilling participant and was actively trying to get the gun out of his home”.

She said it was a serious weapon but the boy’s level of culpability was not high.

A probation report concluded that the boy is at a low risk of re-offending but said it would assist the teenager to be placed under probation supervision to help him with certain risk factors including the absence of a strong male role model in his life and the fact that he is not in full-time education.

Judge Greally placed the teenager under a 12-month probation bond and ordered that he attend all appointments and follow all the directions of his probation officer.

“If you behave yourself and do everything asked of you it is unlikely that you will go to prison,” the judge advised the boy before adjourning the case to 22 January 2021.

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Sonya McClean

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