Man jailed for five years for possession of explosives

Man jailed for five years for possession of explosives

A man was jailed for five years with the last two suspended yesterday after pleading guilty to possession of explosives.

Brian Fitzpatrick (50) of Castleross, Dundalk was charged with two counts of possession of an explosive substance under suspicious circumstances on December 16 at Mitchelstown Cross, Castletown, Navan, Co. Meath.

The Special Criminal Court heard Thursday that he pleaded guilty to one of the charges soon after the incident and that he has shown remorse since.

Detective Superintendent Tom Maguire of the Special Detective Unit in Harcourt Square agreed with defence counsel Micheal P O'Higgins SC, that Mr Fitzpatrick was "not the brains in this. He is not in the first rank of intellect".

Mr O'Higgins told the three-judge court that his client had suffered severe psychiatric problems following a brutal assault 18 years ago in which he was repeatedly punched and kicked in the head.

He said the trauma of this incident had left him unable to work and with depression that left him requiring ongoing mental health treatment.

He also described him as a family man and read out a statement from his wife in which she said that she would be "lost without him" and that he had helped her after she fell and shattered her elbow.

The court heard that Mr Fitzpatrick raised funds for foreign missions and was presented with photographs of children he had helped in India. A letter from his local GAA club stated that he worked with underage groups to promote a high level of achievement for the club.

Before the attack that left him unable to work, he said he had worked on boats and in factories in the UK to provide for his family. Det Supt Maguire also agreed that the explosive device gardai found in the car Mr Fitzpatrick had been driving could "not be described as a bomb". He said it would more likely be used to detonate another, larger device or to cause a fire.

Mr O'Higgins added that his client wished to apologise to the court and to gardai and that he had "no intention of doing anything like this again".

Presiding Judge, Paul Butler said: "This type of offence is taken most seriously by this court" but he accepted that in this case he was not dealing with someone who was in possession of a bomb. He also said that the accused is not a member of any criminal organisation or gang and that this also served to lessen any sentence that would ordinarily be given by the court for possession of explosives.

He added that he would not take into account the injuries suffered by the accused as he did not see them as relevant but he did take into account his prior good behaviour, his early plea of guilty and his long-standing marriage and devotion to his family. He imposed a five year sentence with the final two to be suspended on the conditions that he lodge a €500 bond and that he does not associate with any known members of criminal organisations.

The sentence was backdated to August 25 2015 when Mr Fitzpatrick entered into custody.