A man “caught red-handed” in possession of a replica AK-47 has been sentenced to two years in prison with the final six months suspended.
Keith Brady, with an address at 4 Cloonmore Close, Tallaght pleaded guilty to the charge of being in possession of an imitation firearm at Garryduff in Paulstown.
Kilkenny Circuit Court heard that on June 5 of 2015 Mr Brady, 26, was walking with another individual along the road and Mr Brady was holding the imitation Kalashnikov assault rifle.
A Garda car pulled up and Mr Brady was observed throwing a long brown object into the grassy verge which was later identified as an imitation firearm.
The court heard that the device – which had a cocking action and magazine release - was not capable of discharging a projectile.
Both Mr Brady and the individual he was with maintained they found the imitation firearm “in a field”.
Defence counsel for Mr Brady said his client had been abusing drugs for three days prior to the offence.
The court heard that Mr Brady found the weapon in a field and was going to sell it to “feed his addiction”. Mr Brady’s legal representative said his client was in custody since May 31 of this year as a result of the charge and pleaded guilty to the offence in June.
Mr Brady’s previous convictions include offences relating to public order, the misuse of drugs and assault causing harm but had no previous for this type of offence.
The defendant – who is now clear of all substances for the first time in years – has reconciled his relationship with a long-term partner who was having a “pro-social influence on him”.
Mr Brady also has a job offer from his older brother who works in construction in Sligo. A Probation Services report before the court found the defendant had a high risk of re-offending.
Judge Brian O’Callaghan said Mr Brady tried to “conceal” the imitation firearm and it was a “striking replica of quite a powerful weapon”. Judge O’Callaghan said the weapon would “put the fear of God into any stranger if it was pointed at them” but that there was no suggestion it was going to be used for such purposes.
The court heard that when Mr Brady saw Gardaí he disposed of the replica in a ditch and he was “directly observed tossing it”.
Judge O’Callaghan said he had to consider the impact of the replica on Mr Brady’s fellow citizens, those in retail and the Gardaí.
He added: “The item is not used as toys in houses, they do not come at the bottom of Christmas trees.”
Judge O’Callaghan said Mr Brady had been “caught red-handed” and sentenced him to two years in custody because he did have the weapon in his possession and he did try to conceal it.
Judge O’Callaghan suspended the final six months of the sentence provided Mr Brady enter into a bond to be of good behaviour and for three years post his release. The sentence was backdated to June 14 of this year.