18 May 2022

Derry man spotted in street with imitation AK47 rifle 'lucky not to have been shot' - court hears

27-year-old jailed at city's Magistrate's Court

Derry man spotted in street with imitation AK47 rifle 'lucky not to have been shot' - court hears

Derry Court House

A Derry man was 'lucky not to have been shot' after he was seen in the street with an imitation AK47 rifle and an imitation handgun, Derry Magistrate's Court was told today.
Conan Harkin, 27, of Bluebellhill Gardens in the Brandywell area of the city, admitted two charges of carrying a firearm in a public place on December 5 last..
He also admitted possessing drugs on January 29 this year.
The court heard police were called to the Abercorn Road area after reports of a man carrying a firearm at around 1.45am and on arrival a witness showed them footage of a man with what appeared to be an AK47 in his hands.
The court was told a man matching the description was located by police and he was found to have an imitation pistol in his waistband.
When interviewed, Harkin admitted having imitation firearms in a public place and said he had been given them by a man he refused to name.
The court was also told that on January 29 police were called to an address and told that Harkin had been seen with an 'illicit substance' and a search uncovered a small amount of cannabis resin.
Defence counsel, Stephen Mooney, said his client, instead of being concerned about being charged, could easily have been shot.
He said Harkin had been in custody for around six weeks in total and had saved the court and prosecution service time by accepting the charges, thus saving a forensic analysis of the weapon.
Mr Mooney described the incident as 'an exercise of idiocy' and said they were ornamental weapons which posed no threat to anyone 'except to the people who carry them.'
District Judge Barney McElholm said if Harkin had hesitated to put the weapon down he could have been shot.
Harkin was sentenced to four months in prison and fined £100.

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