Man sentenced to two years for possession of rifle and ammunition

by Gazette Reporter

A man who took responsibility for a bag of weapons and ammunition which were uncovered during a demolition on a Dublin building site has been sentenced to two years in prison.

Robert Smullen (35) was arrested two months after the discovery but made no admissions during garda interview.

His DNA was taken during questioning and a partial match for his DNA was later found on one of the weapons. His fingerprints were also found on the bag which the bullets and weapons were found in.

Smullen of Halliday Road, Dublin 7, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of ammunition and a 7.62 calibre assault rifle at waste-ground in O’Devaney Gardens, Dublin 7, on August 14, 2018. The pleas of guilty were accepted on the basis that they represented sample charges.

Smullen has 17 previous convictions and is currently serving a sentence of eight years with the final 18 months suspended.

Detective Garda Fergal O’Flaherty told Eoghan Cole BL, prosecuting, that during the course of the works at O’Devaney Gardens, a workman using a teleporter moved a large container and found a black bag hidden underneath.

On further inspection it was discovered that there was a total of 65 rounds of ammunition and four firearms including the rifle, two revolvers and a semi-automatic pistol.

Det Gda O’Flaherty agreed with Garnet Orange SC, defending, that it was fortuitous discovery and his client caused gardaí no trouble and co-operated with the investigation.

He accepted that as it was not “an iron cast case against him” and gardaí were replying on forensic evidence and inference to secure a conviction, Smullen’s plea of guilty “is definitely of benefit”.

Det Gda O’Flaherty further accepted that Smullen was in “the throes of a cocaine addiction” at the time, had lost a business and had built up drug debts.

Mr Orange said his client was a person who “was vulnerable and susceptible to other people putting him under pressure” due to his drug debt.

He asked the court not to add to the sentence he is currently serving and said that he is making progress in custody with his education and hopes to start a degree programme.

Counsel handed in a number of testimonials from the man’s family and said Smullen has their support and that of his local community.

Judge Martin Nolan said there was “every possibility” that Smullen would reform himself and noted the steps he had taken in custody with his education. He said he could not accede to the request not to extend his time in prison.

He sentenced Smullen to two years in prison which he said must be served consecutive to the term he is already serving.

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