A YOUNG man who pointed a plastic toy gun at gardai as they responded to a disturbance in Ballinacurra Weston was sentenced to seven months in prison.
Ian Flanagan, aged 23, of Linehan Avenue, Prospect denied possession of an imitation firearm near his home on September 9, 2011.
During a contested hearing at Limerick Court, Garda Sean Dervan, Roxboro Road, said he and a colleague were responding to reports of a number of men fighting when he saw Flanagan running in front of the marked patrol car.
He said the defendant had a baseball bat in his left hand and what he believed was a gun in his right hand.
Garda Dervan said Flanagan pointed the gun at the patrol car - at which point he chased him to the entrance of his home.
Judge Eugene O’Kelly was told the defendant verbally abused Garda Dervan as he was being arrested and that as he was being taken away, a large “hostile” crowd was gathering.
In his evidence, Flanagan denied having the toy gun.
He claimed it belonged to his younger brother who could have dropped it in the front garden of his home.
“He plays with toy guns and Action Man and he has a big box of toy guns. He wants to be a garda when he grows up,” he said.
Flanagan claimed he was returning home when he encountered Garda Dervan who he said threatened to “kick in” the front door if he didn’t open it.
After the toy gun was produced to the witness, solicitor John Devane commented that “you see them every day in Smyths”.
Mr Devane told they court there are CCTV cameras installed at his client’s home but being cross examined by Insp Seamus Nolan, Flanagan said he did not believe it had been working on the day of the incident.
Andrew Colbert, an uncle of the defendant, said his nephew hasdjust arrived home when gardai called to the door.
However, he said he didn’t see what had happened beforehand.
Following the conclusion of the evidence Judge O’Kelly said Garda Dervan had given a “very clear account” of what had happened and that he found his evidence to be truthful.
The judge commended Garda Dervan for his bravery, which he said may have been down to “heightened adrenaline” or a devotion to his job.
After formally convicting Flanagan, he sentenced him to a total of seven months imprisonment.
The severity of the sentence has been appealed.