When police searched the home of a Banbridge man who was described in court as a ‘convicted drug dealer’ they discovered an unlicensed firearm.
Brian Patrick McCartan (33), Oak Grove, Banbridge, was fined £300 last Thursday at the local court for possession of an air rifle on November 24 last year without having a firearms certificate.
He was also ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy and a destruction order was made for the weapon.
The court heard that at approximately 7pm on the day of the incident police officers searched the defendant’s home under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
They found the air rifle, a Crosman 66 Powermaster, which required a firearms certificate.
McCartan said he bought it at a market a long time ago and used it to shoot at targets. He did not realise he needed a firearms certificate and thought it was a toy gun.
The weapon was seized by police.
District Judge, Mr Paul Copeland, looking at the defendant’s record, expressed concern about ‘a convicted drug dealer’ with an unlicensed firearm.
A barrister representing McCartan said he had bought the gun at Nutts Corner and it had been in his house for some length of time.
He added that it was an honest mistake on the part of the defendant who had nothing in relation to violence on his record.
The defence lawyer indicated that his client was in breach of a suspended sentence.
But he also pointed out that had been imposed for a different type of offence.
Judge Copeland told McCartan that given his history and police interest in his home he would do well to distance himself from weapons of any kind.
Given this was a different offence, he added, he would not invoke the suspended sentence.
The judge added that he was not entirely satisfied that a convicted drug dealer had a weapon in his possession.