Trio jailed over weapons “arsenal”

April 15, 2013

Three men who were caught with an “arsenal” of weaponry, including a loaded gun, have been jailed for seven years each.

Dominic Dynes, Brian Sheridan and Brian Cavlan had pleaded guilty to having the loaded revolver with intent to endanger life and also admitted possessing the other firearms under suspicious circumstances.

Belfast Crown Court had previously heard how officers had forcibly stopped the Citroen Xantia the men were travelling in on a country road just outside Keady two years ago.  A police search of the vehicle uncovered a loaded revolver in the front and an “arsenal” of weapons in the boot which included an AK47 assault rifle, two other rifles, a handgun, magazines and bullets.

Castleblayney man, Dynes, 41, was driving the vehicle while 37 year old Cavlan, and Sheridan, 36, both from County Tyrone, were passengers.  At the scene, police noted that Cavlan was wearing gardening gloves and boots which were covered in mud. During subsequent police interviews, the men alleged they had dug up the guns and were travelling to an undisclosed location to rebury them in a safe place when police stopped them.

Passing sentence last Friday, the judge said that, given the circumstances of the find, he accepted the men’s claims and admitted there was no evidence to suggest the guns had been used in any terrorist operation before or how long they had been buried for.

Judge Kinney also conceded that there was no evidence as to the trio’s intended use of the loaded gun and noted that, despite having an opportunity to use it against the police, they had not done so.

He added however that the men “were fully aware of the nature of the weapons” which were “clearly linked to a terrorist organisation” although there were no charges of membership before the court and “they deny such membership”.

The judge said he believed the men were apprehended during a “one-off operation” which was not likely to be repeated but that “only substantial custodial sentences can meet the requirements of the case”.  Seeing no reason to distinguish between their sentences, he ordered that the three men each serve three years behind bars and four years on licence.