Suspended sentence remains for man who stored firearms inside Henry Hoover 1 month ago

Suspended sentence remains for man who stored firearms inside Henry Hoover

The Court of Appeal ruled the sentence was "very exceptional".

A suspended sentence will remain in place for a man who stored firearms inside a Henry Hoover.

The man, from Donaghmede in Dublin, pleaded guilty to unlawful possession contrary to section 27A(1) of the Firearms Act 1964 after allowing a gangland figure to store weapons at his home in 2019.

Two loaded semi-automatics were found stashed inside his vacuum cleaner by Gardaí, per reports.

In May of this year, the sentencing judge said the headline sentence she identified for the offence was seven years’ imprisonment.

She reduced this initially to four years' imprisonment due to his lack of previous convictions and then to a wholly suspended sentence after noting the man was someone with serious mental health difficulties who had been taken advantage of by a “criminal figure”.

The court had been told the man was “incredibly vulnerable” when approached by the gangland figure and agreed to store the firearms in a bid to “get them off his back”.

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The court also heard how the man had "very seriously" attempted suicide whilst mourning two brothers who died by suicide.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) later tried to overturn the sentence on grounds that it was unduly lenient.

The DPP said the State did not object to the initial reduction to four years' imprisonment but argued that the judge should not have fully suspended the sentence.

The Court of Appeal, however, rejected the DPP’s appeal and refused to overturn the sentence imposed, stating the reduction was clearly not “a decision that the judge took lightly”.

The Court of Appeal said the man's struggles and lack of prior run-ins with Gardaí placed the case into the “very exceptional category” and that the original judgement was thereby appropriate.