A Richhill man who went to show his girlfriend an air pistol strapped to his chest, without holding a licence, has been fined £315.
Nigel George Agnew, of Tandragee Street, appeared before Armagh Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry Courthouse, charged with possessing a firearm without certificate and possessing a firearm in a public place.
The 60-year-old appeared before the court, pleading guilty to both charges.
The court heard that on June 14, a woman reported to police that her friend – the defendant – had arrived at her home at approximately 2.30 in the morning. She said that he had what appeared to be a gun strapped to his chest.
While the defendant was getting undressed for bed, he took the gun from the strap saying “what do you think of this?”
The woman stated that he was showing her the gun and pointed it towards her, but she reached out and pushed it away.
It was noted that “at no time did Mr Agnew threaten her” and that “she did not believe that he was going to harm her in anyway”.
She asked him to leave her property, which he did, and stated that she was scared due to the presence of a gun in her house. The event was reported to police and, at interview, the defendant made admissions but said that he did not believe that he needed a licence.
District Judge Anne Marshall, presiding, asked: “What on earth was he doing going around intoxicated with a weapon strapped to his chest?”
Agnew’s defence solicitor said that his client “takes this matter seriously”.
He explained that the defendant had purchased the air pistol over the internet “two to three years ago” from a dealer, who had said that he did not need a certificate.
Agnew used this pistol – which shoots small metal pellets – in his garden for target practice on a number of occasions, the defence said.
On the night in question, the defendant had been drinking with his then-girlfriend before going home for his tea. He then had “taken the air pistol out, polished it, put it into its holster” and went back up to her house. The gun had no pellets in it.
Defence added that the defendant had been attending addiction services, and asked for credit for the defendant as he had admitted to the offence when arrested.
Judge Marshall noted that he lacked a relevant record, but had a number of previous driving matters.
“Looking at his record and this incident, clearly there was an addiction issue and that’s already being dealt with.”
A fine of £150 was imposed on each of the two charges, alongside the £15 offender levy.
This added to a total fine of £315, of which Agnew was given 15 weeks to pay.