Man who stored dissident gun walks free

Published Monday, 07 January 2013
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A Belfast man who was caught storing a gun and bullets for dissident republicans has walked free from court after his five-year jail term was suspended for three years.

Man who stored dissident gun walks free
Toner's sentence was suspended for three years at Belfast Crown Court. (© UTV)

Belfast Crown Court Judge Gordon Kerr QC told 34-year-old Eamon Toner he was of the view there were exceptional circumstances in the case, in that Toner was genuinely in fear of his life having received a Mass card and a bullet in the post, signed by the CIRA.

An earlier court heard how police officers uncovered a .38 revolver and 85 bullets, including two 'dum dum' rounds which expand on impact, hidden behind loose bricks in what was once a ventilator on September 16 2011.

In an agreed set of facts read out to the court, prosecution lawyer Philip recounted how in March or April of that year, Toner had been in a fight with a well known republican in a west Belfast bar and had received the Mass card within days.

A short time after receiving the card Toner was ordered to leave the country "or he would be killed".

He brought the threats to the attention of police but a masked man came to his home with a rucksack and hid the weapon, assaulting Toner at the time.

On Monday Judge Kerr said he accepted there were elements of duress about the case but not enough to mount a legal defence against the charges.

Toner, from Clonovogie Gardens in Belfast, had pleaded to charges of possessing the gun under suspicious circumstances and possessing a prohibited weapon in relation to the bullets.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Jungle in Ballyclare wrote (755 days ago):
I got caught with no road tax on my car the other week, I got a threat from my missus that if I spent her money she would kill me !! do you think the judge will let me off ?? can't see it, but could be worth a try after reading this.
RD in UK wrote (755 days ago):
Loyalists jailed for throwing bricks, yet Republicans walk free for possessing death weapons. This must be this new equal society.
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