Limerick Circuit Court
A MAN who bought a Chinese rifle online “to protect himself and his father” fired shots out the back window of his house at cans and bottles for target practice, Limerick Circuit Court has heard.
Gardai told the court that they were on routine patrol on March 9, 2012, when they received a call about shots being fired from a back window of a house at Sean Heuston Place.
Once they arrived at the scene, they met with Thomas Hanrahan, 25, who brought them over to the fridge and produced the weapon from behind it. He was then cautioned by gardai.
Afterwards they also found three containers of steel pellets in an upstairs room and a canister of pepper spray, which is legally regarded as a firearm because of the damage it can inflict. All the items were seized.
After being arrested and questioned, Hanrahan accepted full responsibility. He pleaded guilty to the offences on July 30 last.
Prosecuting barrister John O’Sullivan, BL, told Judge Tom O’Donnell that the defendant purchased the air rifle from a website and that it was delivered in a black van.
He said his activity was “misguided” and that he was bound to get caught by firing these shots.
Mr O’Sullivan said he has a “series of not terribly serious matters”, including thefts, damage to property, burglary, and trespassing.
He added that gardai are satisfied that he has no history of violent crime, such as assault or robbery.
Patrick Whyms, defending, said: “It was a ridiculous thing for him to do and a ridiculous activity for him to be engaged in.” He said his client wished to express his “profound apology to the court”. Mr Whyms said Hanrahan now resides elsewhere with a friend, and is actively trying to find a course or gainful employment.
Judge O’Donnell queried why the case had taken so long to come to court, but was told clarification was sought on whether the pepper spray is a firearm. Sentencing for Hanrahan to July 26.