Haulier is jailed for two years for possession of ammunition

A haulier has been jailed for two years after a court heard he was given no choice but to hold onto  198 rounds of ammunition, reports Declan Brennan.

 Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Tony Hunt (47) had moved the bullets from a wheelie bin into his car because his bins were due for collection.

Dublin Criminal Courts of Justice 2 October 2016

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

 The four boxes of ammunition were found in the spare wheel well of his car after gardai did a “random” stop of the car, after they saw the car driving from the home of a known drug dealer in Kildare.

 Hunt initially told gardai that he had been out deer hunting with a colleague and the bullets belonged to this colleague.

 In a later interview, he told them that another person had told him that a package would be left in his outside wheelie bin for 24 hours.

 He said he didn't know what was in the package but it was still in the bin days later. He realised the bins were due for collection and moved the package into his car, he told gardai.

 Hunt of Greenfort Gardens, Clondalkin, Dublin pleaded guilty to possession of 198 rounds of 9mm Parabellum calibre bullets at Celbridge on August 1, 2018. Detective Garda Padraig Murphy told the court that the ammunition was mainly used in semi-automatic handguns.

 He said Hunt was not on the “garda radar” and had not come to any garda attention since this offence. His one previous conviction is for possession of stolen property in 2004.

 He said he believed Hunt was put in a position by others where he couldn't say no. He said that he didn't think Hunt had any part in getting the ammunition or in any intended use of the bullets.

 He agreed with James Dwyer SC, defending, that his initial story to gardai about deer hunting was evidence of his naivety and lack of knowledge about firearms.

 Gda Murphy also accepted that Hunt said he was afraid to name the man who was behind the ammunition. He agreed that Hunt and members of his family were physically assaulted by others after the discovery and seizure of the bullets.

 Mr Dwyer told the court his client was a “hard-working family man” who “was out of his depth”. He said he is a grandfather and had worked all his life as a long distance lorry driver to support his family.

 He said his client is at “the bottom of the scale” of criminality.

 Judge Pauline Codd suspended the final three years of a five year prison term on condition that Hunt keep the peace for the entire period. She said she was taking into consideration his guilty plea, his low level of involvement and his positive family role.

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