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21 Jan 2022

Man waved imitation gun in housing estate 'very lucky' to avoid jail

New Letterkenny courthouse

Letterkenny courthouse.

A 21-year-old Letterkenny man who drove around a housing estate with an imitation firearm pointed out the window was told he was ‘very lucky’ to stay out of prison.

Ciaran Tourish, of Carraig Craobh, Crievesmith, Letterkenny, was before Letterkenny District Court.

The accused faced a number of charges, including one firearms charge as well as motoring offences and possession of drugs.

On August 4, 2018, Gardaí received a report of a vehicle driving at Windmill View with a gun pointed out the window.

Gardai arrived on the scene and spoke with Tourish, who admitted that firearms in the vehicle were replica guns.

“Because there were firearms, the ASU (Armed Support Unit) were called,” Sergeant Gerard Dalton told the court. Two firearms - later confirmed to be imitation firearms - and a quantity of ammunition and pellets were seized.

Sergeant Dalton said Tourish claimed ownership and understood why people might have been afraid. His solicitor, Mr Rory O’Brien, told the court that Tourish and some other individuals had been at a ‘paintball event of some nature’ on the day in question.

On October 3, 2020, Gardaí were called to an incident at Ashlawn by a female who became distressed at a group of males fighting in the middle of the estate. Gardai observed a silver BMW coming from the Ashlawn direction at the bottom of the Gortlee road.

The car swerved across the middle of the road and attempted to complete a u-turn. The driver subsequently pulled in at the Gortlee Road. Gardaí formed the opinion that Tourish was driving under the influence of an intoxicant. The accused tested positive for the presence of cocaine.

On October 21, 2020, Tourish was driving on the Letterkenny road from Convoy. The court heard that Tourish was driving at approximately 70km/h when he lost control of the rear of the car, which drifted out and collided with another vehicle. A woman and a baby, who were in the other vehicle. received hospital attention.

“Doctors said that the baby may be traumatised as the baby woke with the bang of the collision,” Sergeant Dalton said.

Tourish also faced charges for the possession of €15 worth of cannabis and €200 worth of cocaine on December 12, 2020 at Main Street, Letterkenny.

He was carved with possession of €10 worth of cocaine at Crievesmith on July 25, 2020 and of the possession of cocaine to the value of €10 at Cullion Road on April 18, 2020.

A further charge of driving without insurance and failure to produce insurance on January 8, 2020 at Ballymacool was proffered on Tourish.

Solicitor for Tourish, Mr Rory O’Brien, said a report had identified a ‘number of significant issues in relation to the past’ for his client.

“He is keen to push on and progress his life,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The report speaks in very glowing terms. If you look at the efforts undertaken in the last 12 months, I ask the court to be impressed. He has done a complete 180 degrees and has put all behind him.”

Mr O’Brien said Tourish was in a relationship and due to become a father, while he had taken up employment and was engaging with the Probation Service.

“He would be going Castlerea if he hadn’t mended his ways,” Mr O’Brien said. The solicitor submitted a number of character references to the court on behalf of his client.

For the possession of drugs, Judge Raymond Finnegan ordered Tourish to undertake a 12-month probation bond and warned him to comply with all directions of the Probation Service. The other charges of possession were marked taken into consideration.

For driving without insurance at Ballymacool, Tourish was fined €250 and given six months to pay with the failure to produce charge struck out.

On a charge of drug-driving at Gortlee Road, Tourish was disqualified from driving for one year and fined €250. A dangerous driving charge on October 21, 2020 was reduced to one of careless driving, for which Tourish, who has completed the ProSocial Driving Course, was fined €250.

For the possession of a realistic imitation firearm, an offence contrary to Section 9A of the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act, Tourish was given a four-month prison sentence, suspended in his own bond of €100 and on the condition that the doesn’t reoffend.

“In the circumstances, Mr Tourish is very lucky,” Judge Finnegan said.

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