Man was found with unlicensed air rifle
PROBATION ACT APPLIED AFTER €1,000 DONATION
A FOULKSMILLS man, found in possession of an unlicenced air rifle, has been given the benefit of the Probation Act on his undertaking to make a donation to the Garda Benevolent Fund.
Francis Whelan (30). from Leegaune, Foulksmills, was before last Tuesday's sitting of New Ross District Court charged with the unauthorised possession of the air rifle on August 3, 2009, at Ballymitty.
The court heard that the defendant brought the firearm into the country unlicensed when he returned from the United States ten years ago. He did not realise it required a licence until informed by the Gardaí.
The Gardaí found the air rifle as a result of an incident a car was searched. Mr Whelan's solicitor explained that his client was not driving the car, which was stopped due to a drink driving matter.
'He didn't think he needed a licence and is deeply apologetic,' said the solicitor, who explained that Mr Whelan travels internationally for work, as he is a director of a company.
He asked Judge Donnchadh O Buachalla to consider not imposing a conviction due to the serious implications a firearms conviction would have for Mr Whelan.
The court heard that Mr Whelan had been out shooting on his own land earlier in the day with the air rifle and that he has held a gun licence for another weapon since the age of 17.
Inspector Mick Walsh confirmed that Whelan had held a licence for a gun since it was given to him by his father, aged 17, and was a member of a gun club.
He also confirmed there had been no incident in the intervening 13 years that Mr Whelan has held that licence.
It was heard that he plans to now apply for a licence for the air rifle.
Inspector Walsh indicated to the judge that Whelan's apllication or a licence for the air rifle was likely to be successful given the nature of the weapon and his existing good record in realtion to the other firearm.
Judge O Buachalla gave Mr Whelan the benefit of the probation act on his undertaking to make a donation of €1,000 to the Garda Benevolent Fund, which was carried out before he left the court.