By Jessica Magee
A man who forgot he had 375 bullets in his shed has been given a suspended sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
Alan Bohan (53) of Shanard Rd, Santry, Co Dublin, pleaded guilty to unlawfully possessing the rounds of .22 calibre ammunition at Ballast Park, Sandy Lane, Rush, Co Dublin, on April 9 last year.
The court heard gardaí were carrying out an unrelated search warrant as part of an investigation into Bohan’s son when they came across the bullets in the shed.
Bohan told gardaí he had forgotten the bullets were there after previously handing over his two hunting rifles to gardaí when his gun licence expired.
Bohan has no previous convictions and told gardaí he used the rifles for shooting vermin and rabbits.
At a hearing last week, Judge Orla Crowe said she was satisfied that there were exceptional circumstances in the case and that Bohan had indeed forgotten about the ammunition in his shed.
Judge Crowe set a headline sentence of three years but imposed an 18-month sentence, which she suspended in full.
Garda Brendan Fitzpatrick told John Quirke BL, prosecuting, that Bohan was not the target of a search warrant executed at his family home last April.
The court heard that Bohan was not living there and that there was a barring order against him after he had been ejected from the family home.
He did, however, have access to a shed or garage out the back of the house, which the court heard he used for fixing cars as he was a mechanic.
The court heard Bohan was the only person who had access to the shed where the bullets were found, 25 rounds of which were in magazines.
Bohan told gardaí he had two legally held firearms, a Bolt shotgun and a .22 rife, which he had voluntarily handed over to gardaí on request after his gun licence expired in 2016.
Bohan said gardaí never asked him to hand over the bullets or the magazines and that he completely forgot that the bullets were in the shed.
Gda Fitzpatrick said Bohan has taken a case against gardaí and intends to get his guns back.
The court heard that Bohan is a collector of memorabilia and that other imitation firearms were found which were not in breach of the law.
Counsel said that even if Bohan’s gun licences had not expired, he would only have been allowed to possess a maximum of 100 rounds of ammunition.
Cathal McGreal BL, defending, said it was an exceptional case of offending “at the very lowest level” and described it as a “technical breach”.
“It was happenstance that uncovered this. The ammunition was found during the course of a search, which had nothing to do with the accused. He put his hands up, and it was always his intention to get his rifles back,” said Mr McGreal.
A letter was presented to the court from Bohan’s mother describing how he looks after and cares for her.
Counsel said that Bohan is on disability due to injury but continues to upskill as a mechanic and intends to get his business back together.
Judge Crowe noted that gardaí could not gainsay Bohan’s explanation that he had forgotten about having bullets in his shed.
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