THREE guns were removed from a family home after gardaí were told of an altercation between a father and son at the house.
Joseph O’Toole Sr, a middle-aged man, came to Cork District Court yesterday, appealing the revocation of his firearms certificate following the seizure of his three guns from the family home at Hillcrest, Farmer’s Cross, Cork, on September 17, 2018.
Joseph O’Toole Jr, aged in his 20s, went to Togher Garda Station that night, claiming that he had been in an altercation with his father and that his father had reached for a gun — something his father totally denied.
Garda Derek Murphy testified: “He stated he was involved in an altercation with his father; that there was a tempestuous relationship with his father; and that night there was pushing and shoving and punches were thrown; that it continued on to his bedroom and that his father made an attempt to go for a firearm up against the wall in the bedroom.”
The younger man told gardaí he did not want to make a formal complaint.
Yesterday, in the witness box, he said that he did not even want to give evidence.
Garda Murphy, Garda Ronan Durcan, and Sergeant James Buckley went to the house to seize the Lee Enfield .308 bolt action rifle, the Winchester .220 bold action rifle, and the Baikal shotgun 12 gauge SB.
All three officers testified yesterday that Mr O’Toole Sr did not like the fact that they were taking the guns, and saw it as unnecessary.
Superintendent Charles Barry later revoked his firearms certificate and the matter was before Cork District Court, where Mr O’Toole Sr appealed the revocation order through solicitor Fergal O’Sullivan.
The appellant testified that he had had a firearms certificate for 30 years and that shooting was his pastime. Mr O’Sullivan said Mr O’Toole Sr’s record was impeccable.
The appellant said he had offered gardaí tea or coffee and invited them into his house and he did not behave with any belligerence or anything of that sort.
He said he never reached for a firearm that night and felt that his son’s complaint was vindictive. He claimed that his son had said to him: “I will get you where it hurts. I will get the guns taken off you.
“I have a long history of shooting with the military,” he said.
“I always had a healthy respect for them. I did not go for a gun that night.”
Judge Olann Kelleher said he appreciated the candour of the evidence from Joseph O’Toole Sr and remarked that it was a very sad situation to hear of the nature of the altercation that night.
However, the judge said there were certain standards required when people held guns under certificate and that those standards were not kept on the night.
He dismissed the appeal, which leaves the appellant without a certificate to have firearms.
“I think it was reasonable to refuse the licence and I refuse the appeal,” the judge said.
Joseph O’Toole Sr said he now lived in Tipperary, where he had built a house on land where he had hoped to continue shooting.