Teen (19) had stolen double-barrelled shotgun under bed

By Sonya Mclean

A teenager who claimed he had a double-barrelled shotgun because he was in fear of his life has avoided a jail term for this and being in possession of a stolen motorbike and cannabis.

Sean Banks (19) was at home with his mother when gardai raided it after getting a tip-off that cannabis was being stored there. He initially denied there were any drugs in the house, but later took responsibility for €725 worth of drugs which included cocaine and cannabis.

dublincourt

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that his friend had been killed. A letter handed into court outlined a history of depression following this death.

The 12-gauge double-barrelled shotgun was found under a bed along with one shotgun cartridge.

The firearm had been stolen previously during a burglary in Kildare.

Gardai were also suspicious of a BMW motorbike at the property after it was noticed that it neither had an ignition nor a registration plate. The vehicle had been stolen two months previously in Stepaside in Dublin.

Garda Brian O’Connor told Tom Neville BL, prosecuting, that gardai were satisfied that Banks wasn’t responsible for stealing either the bike or the gun.

Banks of Bawnlea Green, Tallaght, pleaded guilty to possession of the gun, cannabis and a stolen motorbike at his home on April 11, 2018. He has two previous convictions for minor offences.

Judge Martin Nolan had adjourned the case overnight having heard the evidence last Wednesday.

He said the “troubling” aspect of the case was the fact that he had a gun. “There is only two possible reasons for the shotgun, to threaten someone or shoot someone,” the judge said.

Kieran Kelly BL, defending, submitted that his client had the firearm for self defence and suggested that a person could also have such a weapon “for self-harm purposes”.

Judge Nolan said on Thursday none of the reasons for which Banks might have had possession of the gun were “very enticing”, but noted he was a young man capable of reform and took into account his co-operation and minor prior convictions.

He told Banks the court was giving him a “considerable chance” and imposed a three-year sentence which he suspended in full on strict conditions.

Garda O’Connor said Banks told gardai in interview that he had bought the bike a year previously from a garage in Northern Ireland. He claimed the drugs were for his own use and said he regularly “smoked weed”.

Banks said he had the gun “in case I need it”, telling gardai he was in fear of his life.

Garda O’Connor agreed with Mr Kelly that Banks left school at 15, got involved with people in his locality and started taking drugs. He had a history of depression and when his friend was killed he fell into a deeper depression.

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