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Gun times over Man jailed after holding machine gun to pay off drugs debt


Submachine gun seized by gardai

Submachine gun seized by gardai

Submachine gun seized by gardai

A father of one who held a submachine gun and 50 rounds of ammunition after he was put under pressure to do so has been given a five-year sentence.

Anthony White (25) had built up a drug debt of €4,500 due to his cocaine addiction.

He told gardaí he was in fear of his life and was threatened that his parents' home would be “smashed up” if he didn't hold the weapon.

He said he had “a bill hanging over my head” and agreed to take in the package three weeks earlier.

White didn't look into the bag until the following day and claimed he was shocked when he saw the gun and bullets.

White of Riverside Crescent, Clondalkin, Dublin 22 pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of the gun and ammunition at his home on April 24, 2019.

He also admitted possession of €100 worth of cocaine on the same date which was found in a backpack in his bedroom. He had four previous convictions for road traffic offences.

Judge Melanie Greally had adjourned the case last March having heard the evidence.

Today, Judge Greally said she readily accepted that there was an abundance of material on the mitigation side of the scales but noted this firearm was a particularly deadly one, with a huge amount of ammunition.

She said she accepted that White had the capacity for a pro-social life into the future but the nature of the items left her with little option but a custodial sentence.

Judge Greally took into account his guilty plea and co-operation, as well as his limited history of offending and considerable remorse.

She noted he came from a respectable background, that his family were supportive of him and he was in a stable relationship.

She said his efforts at rehabilitation had been very successful and that all the documents handed into court support this being “a finite episode in his life which coincided with a dark and deep addiction to cocaine”.

Judge Greally imposed a five year sentence and suspended the final two years on strict conditions including that he engage in probation supervision.

Garda Padraig Rowan told Monika Leech BL, prosecuting, that gardaí searched the house after securing a warrant and found the gun and ammunition in a bag in a shed in the back garden.

White came to the garda station two days later and took full responsibility. He apologised to his parents and showed remorse for his involvement.

Gda Rowan said the gun and ammunition were analysed and found in good working condition. The bullets were deemed suitable for use in the gun.

Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha SC, defending, told Judge Greally that his client had been diagnosed with ADHD after experiencing difficulties in primary school.

“He was rescued by his diagnosis and medication,” counsel said “but then he allowed himself to lose control of the good within him.”

He said White began taking cocaine and “created the circumstance which created the pressure on him”.

Mr Ó Lideadha handed in a large number of testimonials from family members, his employer and former school on behalf of White.

Today, he outlined from reports before the court that White has now stopped all contact with drug taking peers. He said his client is in responsible employment and taking his fitness very seriously, raising money for charity through triathlons.

Counsel submitted the offences were “a combination of extreme and truly exceptional circumstances.” He asked the court to take into account not only the nature of the items but also the limited role played by White.

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Online Editors