Man faces sentence for possessing a shotgun

A Ballinasloe man faces the activation of a four year suspended sentence for possession of a shotgun after being found with a flick knife just seven months later.

Martin Campbell was given the four year suspended sentence at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in February 2008 on strict conditions which included a good behaviour bond, however he was arrested in Athlone on September 18, 2008, for possession of a flick knife.

Campbell (21 ) of Curragh Park, Hymany, Ballinasloe, pleaded guilty to the charge of unlawful possession of an offensive weapon on January 30 this year at Athlone District Court. When returned to the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Campbell told Judge Frank O’Donnell that he could give a “reasonable explanation”.

Campbell had been caught at Coultry Road, Ballymun, on July 10, 2006 with a sawn-off shotgun he had bought a fortnight previously with the intention of harming himself and pleaded guilty to having it unlawfully.

Garda Brian Boland agreed with defence counsel, Mr Erwin Mill-Arden SC, that it had been raised in mitigation on behalf of Campbell at the District Court that he claimed to be unaware that the knife was in his jacket and said that it was a knife he used for fishing. He agreed that the knife was rusty and that it was a fold-out knife rather than a “button release” blade.

Garda Boland told Mr Mill-Arden there had been "no mention" in Athlone District Court that the knife might have been put in the jacket by a female known to Campbell because there was "a rapist in the area”.

Judge O'Donnell noted "there might be a relatively innocent explanation" and adjourned the case again to a date in October.

Garda Ronan McMorrow told prosecuting counsel, Mr Colm O Briain BL, at the February 2008 hearing, that the shotgun was recovered after gardai responded to a call about a man carrying it and found Campbell and his mother having an argument at the scene.

Mr Mill-Arden at that hearing described Campbell as "a young man with no serious previous convictions for whom this incident was completely out of character".

He said he had been instructed by Campbell to apologise to his mother, the gardai, and the court. He accepted this incident was "mad behaviour" and he was eager to change life around.

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