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Man who threatened Irish Water workers with imitation gun avoids jail

Dean Moran (left) avoided a prison term
Dean Moran (left) avoided a prison term

A man who threatened Irish Water workers with a realistic imitation handgun tucked into his tracksuit bottoms has received a two and half year suspended sentence.

Dean Moran (27) pulled up his top to reveal the realistic model weapon and told the workers: “If you come near my house you will get this.”

Moran, of Emmet Square, Blackrock pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of a realistic imitation firearm in Blackrock on September 23, 2014.

The court heard Moran had woken up following a night shift as a security guard to find plastic barriers against his car. His home was later searched by armed gardai and the item was found to be a lighter.

Judge Martin Nolan had remanded Moran in custody on Monday after hearing evidence in the case.

Today Judge Nolan said Moran behaved extremely irresponsibly and badly as the men were going about their lawful work. He said he had no doubt that Moran intended to frighten the workers and “he succeeded in doing this”.

The judge said he had decided not to imprison Moran “principally because of his plea of guilty” but he added it was “a close run thing” .

He suspended the two and half year term and gave Moran 12 months to raise €1,000 for a charity chosen by the investigating garda, Garda Gordon Woulfe.

Gda Woulfe told Paul Carroll BL, prosecuting, that Irish Water workers and a civil engineer were installing water meters in Emmet Square but not at Moran's home. Plastic barriers were being set up and some were near Moran's home and his car.

Moran came out of his house to speak to staff and was referred to a civil engineer.

Moran was told the men were installing water meters and replied: “You won't put them in my fucking house”.

He was told he would get two months’ notice before it was installed and again began shouting they would not be doing his house.

Gda Woulfe said there was a degree of pushing and shoving and Moran was told if he did not stop gardai would be called. “Fuck you and the gardai”, Moran replied, “Call who you want”.

Moran later returned and told staff: “If you come near my house you will get this.”

He pulled up his top and turned his back where staff saw the top half of a handgun sticking out of his tracksuit bottoms. The people present understood this to be a threat.

Armed gardai attended at the scene and approached Moran's house using protective shields. They gained access and during a search of the house they found what transpired to be a metal lighter realistically modelled on a semi-automatic pistol.

Moran was arrested and during gardai interview he accepted he had brought out the implement. He said he wanted to scare the workers and get them to leave him alone. He said he was also scared.

Stephen Hughes BL, defending, said Moran fully accepted what he did was “entirely stupid.”

He said Moran had been working a night shift as a security guard and had been under a lot of pressure and stress. He had gone outside after waking up to see the barriers against his car.

He said Moran had been fully cooperative and had not come to any adverse gardai attention since.

Mr Hughes handed in references on behalf of his client and submitted the incident had been a “once off.” He said Moran had suffered depression in the past and had been on medication at the time.