Shotgun sentence may be activated after Ballinasloe man pleads guilty to flick-knife possession

A Galway man may have his four year suspended sentence for possession of a shotgun reactivated at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court after he pleaded guilty to possession of a flick-knife in Athlone.

Martin Campbell (21 ) was given a four year suspended sentence by Judge Frank O'Donnell last February after he was caught in Dublin with a sawn-off shotgun he had bought two weeks previously with the intention of harming himself.

Campbell, of Curragh Park, Hymany, Ballinasloe, had received the suspended sentence on strict conditions including a good behaviour bond after he pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of the shotgun at Coultry Road, Ballymun, on July 10, 2006.

Garda Brian Boland told Judge O'Donnell that Campbell had pleaded guilty on January 30, 2009 at Athlone District Court to possession of a flick knife in Athlone town on September 18, 2008.

Campbell told Judge O'Donnell: "I pleaded guilty to it but I have a reasonable explanation."

Gda Boland agreed with defence counsel, Mr Erwan 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 the jacket he was wearing 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 then a "button release" blade.

Gda Boland told Mr Mill-Arden there had been "no mention" in Athlone District Court that the knife may 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 may be a relatively innocent explanation" and adjourned the case until March to allow a probation report be prepared.

During the original sentence hearing at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last year, Garda Ronan McMorrow told prosecuting counsel, Mr Colm O'Briain BL, that the gun was recovered after gardai responded to a call about a man carrying a shotgun and found Campbell and his mother having an argument at the scene.

Mr Mill-Arden then 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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