GARDAÍ found a loaded pistol on the floor in the front of a black Audi car in the early hours of the morning, but the man arrested nearby on the road in a housing estate with the car key in his pocket said he did not know the gun was there.
That was the evidence that emerged during the trial of 40-year-old Jonathan O’Sullivan of 55 Barrett’s Buildings, Gurranabraher, Cork, who was on trial today at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
He denies possession of the automatic pistol and the ammunition.
The trial, before Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin and a jury of seven men and five women, continues tomorrow.
The firearm charge states that “on March 23 at Ardcullen, Hollyhill, Cork, in the District Court area of Cork City, he did have in his possession a firearm, to wit, a black. .380 ACP calibre Grand Power model G9A automatic pistol, in such circumstances as to give rise to a reasonable inference that he had not got it in your possession for a lawful purpose”, contrary to the Firearms Act as amended by the Criminal Justice Act.
The wording on the second charge is similar but refers to a single round of ammunition, namely a .380 ACP calibre round, contrary to the same legislation.
Garda Keith Shire was the driver of the Gurranabraher patrol car with Garda Margaret Kelleher as observer in the early hours of March 23 when they got a call about a dark Audi A4 acting suspiciously by revving the engine in Ardcullen estate at around 1.20am.
Up to seven minutes later the gardaí drove into the estate and noted a dark Audi A4. Garda Shire got out and approached the parked car with nobody inside and observed on the footwell at the driver’s side, between the seat and the pedals, a handgun.
“I requested armed support to attend the scene, examine the gun, and make sure it was safe,” said Garda Shire. “I checked the bonnet, it was warm, it had been running quite recently.”
He checked the registration number through Garda colleagues and was told the number belonged to a Toyota Yaris. It was later found that the chassis number had been scratched off the engine of the Audi, Garda Shire said.
Garda Annmarie Fitzgerald saw Mr O’Sullivan further down the road and spoke to him. Garda Shire noted that Mr O’Sullivan appeared quite nervous when talking to Garda Fitzgerald.
Garda Shire said his colleague was not satisfied with the reasons the man gave for being in the area at that time. At first he said he was visiting a friend’s house at The Meadows, but did not give this man’s name. Then he said he was calling to a woman, whose name he did give, but could not say what her address was.
Garda Shire said that when Mr O’Sullivan was searched, there was a single key in his pocket and this opened the Audi parked in the area.
Garda Keith Mills from the Armed Support Unit opened the door of the car and made the gun safe. He found one round of ammunition in it, but not in the breach of the firearm.
Defence senior counsel, Siobhán Lankford, said: “The accused said he did not know there was any firearm in the vehicle. It certainly was not visible.”
Garda Shire testified that the gun was between the pedals and the seat and was visible on the floor of the car when he was standing beside the car looking into it.