A COUNTY Limerick man who gardai allege was selling stolen guns to fund a drug addiction was, this Wednesday, refused bail following a strong objection.
Patrick Byrnes, aged 36, who is originally from Lisheen Park, Patrickswell is accused of possession of a number of firearms and a quantity of ammunition at Maxwell Lane, Croom on July 2, last.
A Miroku shotgun and a Haenel rifle were seized along with a quantity of rim-fire cartridges when gardai searched an apartment having received confidential information that the weapons were being stored there.
The defendant, who was left partially paralysed following a vicious assault almost three years ago, has been in custody since he first appeared in court a number of days after the firearms were seized.
Opposing a bail application, Sergeant Niall Flood said the firearms were found hidden in a bedroom which was used by the defendant from time-to-time.
Byrnes was not in the property at the time but was arrested a short time later.
Sgt Flood said the guns and ammunition had been stolen sometime earlier and that gardai believe Byrnes intended selling them for cash and drugs.
He alleged the defendant admitted during interview that he had previously sold a number of other firearms to individuals in Limerick city who are involved in “serious criminal activity”.
Judge Marian O’Leary was told gardai are also concerned the defendant may interfere with potential witnesses in the case in an effort to halt the prosecution, which is to proceed on indictment at the circuit court.
Solicitor Tom Kiely said his client is not disputing the seriousness of the charges but said there was no suggestion that he represents a flight risk.
He said Byrnes was previously addicted to heroin but has been clean for a number of months.
He said he is on a methadone programme and “doesn’t seem to be in the throes of addiction”.
Referring to the serious head injuries his client received as a result of being assaulted in May 2013, he said he has not been receiving the required specialist treatment in prison which is causing him additional hardship.
Mr Kiely submitted the imposition of strict bail conditions on the defendant would allay garda fears and he said Byrnes was willing to abide by any and all conditions.
However, Judge O’Leary said she was refusing bail in the circumstances. The case was adjourned to January 19, for a book of evidence.