Mansfield trial collapses on lack of bullet ‘proof’ grounds possession of bullets

By Aoife Nic Ardghail and Declan Brennan

The trial of a late billionaire’s son who was accused of unlawfully possessing over 1,200 bullets has collapsed at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, reports Aoife Nic Ardghail and Declan Brennan.

Judge Cormac Quinn told the jury that that the prosecution had not proved how many rounds of ammunition Patrick James (PJ) Mansfield was entitled to possess.

Dublin Criminal Courts of Justice 2 October 2016

The judge said because of this, the jury would be speculating on how many rounds Mr Mansfield (41) was not entitled to possess. He directed the jury to return a not guilty verdict on day 3 of the trial.

Mr Mansfield had denied possessing 1,252 rounds of .22 calibre ammunition without the relevant firearms licence at his former home in Coldwater Lakes, Saggart, Co Dublin on January 29, 2015.

Mr Mansfield’s current address was given as Saggart House, Saggart. He has no previous convictions.

Judge Quinn told the jury that Mr Mansfield had been permitted by a firearms certificate to hold a Walther .22 pistol and a certain number of .22 caliber ammunition. He said gardaí thought this number was 300 bullets.

Judge Quinn reminded the jurors that they had seen a photo of one side of Mr Mansfield’s firearms certificate which showed he had been authorised to hold the gun. The judge said a photo of the other side, which had not been produced, would have shown how many rounds of ammunition Mr Mansfield had been permitted to hold.

He added that the person who had authorised the firearms certificate had also not been produced as a witness in the case. The judge said there were “stringent requirements” with prosecuting a case and a jury was not allowed to speculate on any issue.

Judge Quinn thanked the jurors for their diligence in the case and hoped they had found it an “instructive experience”.

During the trial, the jury heard evidence that Mr Mansfield was an authorised member of a gun club and a person “of good character”.

After his arrest Mr Mansfield told gardaí that he didn’t know he had that much ammunition in the house.

The trial heard that during an earlier audit inspection of firearm licensees, gardaí checked out all the firearms licensed to Mr Mansfield but never asked for any ammunition to be produced.

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