Limerick man jailed for firearm possession

Stock image of a .455 Colt model “New Service” revolver (Pic:
Stock image of a .455 Colt model “New Service” revolver (Pic:

A Limerick man who pleaded guilty to possession of firearms has been sentenced to five years in prison, with the final three years suspended, at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin today.

In October, Gary Yeung (31) with an address at Bawnmore View, Crossagalla, Limerick pleaded guilty to the unlawful possession of a .455 Colt model “New Service” revolver and a .455 Calibre Webley Mark 6 revolver bearing serial number 324736 at James’ Street, Dublin 8 on September 14th, 2013. 

At the sentence hearing today, Detective Superintendent Tom Maguire, of the Special Detective Unit, told prosecution barrister Vincent Heneghan BL that, in September 2013, detectives received information that Yeung was to travel from Limerick to Dublin and an IRA operation was to take place. 

On September 14th, surveillance was put in place in James' St. Yeung was seen in the area and was followed for a short period. He went to James' Hospital and on to Kenny's public house. 

Outside Kenny's, Yeung was observed with another man, the court heard. He took a small bag from a satchel. Printed on the bag in capital letters was the word "love". Yeung handed the bag to the other man and they parted company, the other man into Kenny's pub and Yeung down James' St. 

Det Supt Maguire told the court that detectives entered the pub and arrested the man who had received the bag. Two firearms wrapped in socks were found in the bag. Subsequent examination revealed that one of the guns, the Colt, was "rusted but operational" and that the other gun, the Webley, was not operational. 

Yeung, walking along James St, was pursued by detectives and arrested. He was detained at Clondalkin garda station, where a DNA sample was taken. Later analysis found Yeung's DNA on the bag but not on the guns. 

The court heard that Yeung has ten previous convictions, all for minor incidents heard before the District Court, dating back to 2003.

A probation report, shown to the court, stated that Yeung had "expressed remorse" for the offence and is a "low risk of reoffending". 

Det Supt Maguire said that he took the report "at face value". 

"He is less likely to reoffend, I would think," he added. 

Mr Heneghan told the court that the maximum sentence for such an offence is 14 years and the minimum is five years.

Mr Yeung also gave evidence at the hearing. He told the court that he would not reoffend and that he had put all that behind him. 

Mr Justice Paul Butler, presiding at the three-judge, non-jury court, stated that Yeung's offence was "serious". 

"There are a number of factors in mitigation in this case," he added, including Yeung's early guilty plea, the matters mentioned in the probation report and that he has no relevant previous convictions. 

The court was satisfied, Mr Justice Butler said, that the appropriate sentence would be five years with the final three years suspended. 

Yeung has been in custody for two months. His sentence was backdated to September 27th this year.