Two men were sentenced to six and five years respectively behind bars at Kilkenny Circuit Court on Friday with the final 12 months of both sentences suspended.
Chris Kelly, 17 Hawthorn Drive, Hillview, Waterford and Kealan Madden, 14 Andrew Street, Waterford pleaded to possession of a firearm on May 20, 2020 and the possession of ammunition was taken into consideration.
A garda witness said that on the date in question, as part of an investigation into organised crime, members of the Emergency Response Unit stopped a car which had three occupants, including the two men before the court.
When the vehicle came to a stop gardaí observed a small black object being thrown into the hedge from the rear of the vehicle where Kealen Madden was seated.
As gardaí approached the vehicle a dark green sock was located between the legs of Kealan Madden which contained a tray of ammunition wrapped in plastic. Both men were wearing disposable gloves. Kelly was the front seat driver and Madden was a rear seat passenger.
The area was searched and a semi automatic pistol was located and 47 rounds of ammunition were located. A ballistics report confirmed that the pistol and ammunition were modified to allow for live ammunition to be fired.
The court heard that Mr Kelly resisted and had to be forcibly removed from the vehicle. Both men were arrested at the scene and were detained and questioned.
Madden made no admissions during his interview at the garda station while there was ‘some co-operation’ from Chris Kelly, the court heard.
Chris Kelly has one previous conviction for possession of drugs under The Misuse of Drugs Act .
Kealen Madden has 13 previous convictions, including convictions for production of an article during the course of a dispute, criminal damage and public order offences.
Probation reports were handed into the court in respect of both defendants who both showed insight into the offences and the potential harm that firearms have on society.
Madden told his probation officer that both men were ‘acting on orders from more serious and violent men’.
The court also heard that Madden had developed a serious alcohol and drug problem during lockdown and that gardaí believe that he is active on the drug scene in relation to sale and supplu and also believe that he has a drugs debt due to his drug use.
Judge Orla Crowe sentenced Chris Kelly to six years in prison for the offences and suspended the final 12 months of the sentence subject to conditions. The judge also convicted Kealan Madden and imposed a five year term of imprisonment and suspended the final 12 months subject to conditions.
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