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Dublin man caught transporting pistol, silencer and ammunition

CourtsBy Sunday World
Michael Hanney
Michael Hanney

A Dublin man, who was caught by gardai transporting a pistol, a silencer and ammunition, has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Michael Hanney (23) had been caught with an air pistol in May 2015 after gardai searched his home. Hanney, who races pigeons, told them he believed it was a pea shooter and he was using it to shoot magpies.

He was then stopped in Ballymun in July 2015 after gardai noticed him driving out of a gated residential area and believed he had no legitimate reason to be there. The pistol was found in the foot well on the passenger side of the vehicle and he took immediate responsibility for it.

His passenger, Daniel Kavanagh (25) of Owensilla, Ballymun, Dublin was jailed for five years by Judge Martin Nolan after he also pleaded guilty to possession of the weapon, ammunition and silencer.

Hanney of Marewood Crescent, Ballymun, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of a 9mm Makarov pistol, a silencer and three rounds of ammunition at St Margaret’s, Ballymun, Dublin on July 13, 2015.

He also pleaded guilty to possession of the air pistol at his home on May 13, 2015. He has two previous convictions, including one for violent disorder.

Judge Martin Nolan said gardai accepted that Hanney was transporting the weapon but added that "he obviously knew it was going to be used to kill, injure or at least threaten someone."

He accepted there were good references in court which demonstrated that Hanney was willing to work and was a contributor to his family and the general area.

"There is good reason to believe he can be reformed," Judge Nolan said before he suspended the final two years of the five-year term on strict conditions.

Garda Liam Mangan told Martina Baxter BL, prosecuting that he stopped Hanney's car in Ballymun after 5pm having seen it leaving a gated farmland area in Sillogue.

Hanney stepped out of the car and told gardai there was a firearm in a black bag in the passenger foot well.

He claimed he had got a phone call to pick up the gun and said he had been threatened.

Gda Mangan said officers returned to the farmland to try and ascertain where the weapon had been hidden but couldn't find anything of significance.

He told Judge Nolan that the gardai were satisfied that Hanney's role was to collect and deliver the weapons.

Sean Gillane SC, defending said that it was a serious offence that catapulted his client into "a serious situation".

He said Hanney was an integral and much-loved member of a large family who had contributed significantly to his local community.

A number of testimonials were handed into court including a letter from Hanney outlining his sorrow and shame for his involvement in the crime.

Sonya McLean