Man 'unaware' of gun laws


A Romanian man who was armed with a pistol as he made a delivery to St Patrick’s Institution has escaped a prison term after a judge accepted he genuinely believed he was allowed possess it.

Sandor Hideg (33) was delivering a skip to the detention centre and handed the gun to guards because he thought he had to check it in before entering. The court heard the guards were “perplexed” and in the confusion, Hideg was handed back the gun.

Hideg of Liffey Avenue, Liffey Valley Park, Lucan pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal possession of the Walter branded, 10mm pistol on November, 30, 2009. The gun was in good working order but only capable of firing non-lethal rubber balls.

Judge Yvonne Murphy accepted that Hideg had a license for the gun in his native Romania and was unaware he also needed a license for it here. She said the incident was “a complete misunderstanding” and ordered Hideg to keep the peace for 12 months.

She also ordered the destruction of the gun.

Garda Barry Brennan told prosecuting counsel, Mr John Fitzgerald BL, that Hideg was delivering a skip to the centre and was stopped by the guards and asked to hand in his mobile phone in line with normal procedure.

Hideg handed in the phone and the gun to guards who handed the gun back to him in confusion. Gardai were called and he was arrested. He also had 14 rounds of ammunition on him and another 18 in his home.

He told gardai in interview that he had come to Ireland in 2008 and brought the gun with him in his luggage. He said he was unaware it was illegal to have the weapon and that he handed it to the guards because he thought he had to check it in before entering.

Gda Brennan accepted that gardai were “incredulous” at Hideg’s explanation but now accepted it.

Defence counsel, Mr Remy Farrell BL, said his client was working with a waste management company at the time but had lost his job due to the media attention surrounding the incident.

He is now working in a similar job.

Mr Farrell said the gun was not a pellet gun “but not a million miles away” and that getting shot with it would be similar to getting punched.

He said the offence was “at the very lowest end of the scale” and that Hideg had no previous convictions either here or in Romania.