A son who answered a call from his worried mum and ended up handling a handgun-magazine later found by police with two firearms, was freed when his two-year jail term was suspended for two years.
Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland told 35-year-old David Christopher Weir that “essentially” he had handled the handgun-magazine for a short limited period “out of curiosity and to satisfy the concerns of your mother”.
The Belfast Crown Court judge added that while the prosecution “took no issue” over his explanation, on finding the magazine his “duty” was to have reported the matter to police.
Weir, from Rossmore Green in Greenisland, pleaded guilty to possession of the magazine under suspicious circumstances between October 2015 and October 2016.
Prosecution counsel Samuel Magee said on October 28 last year police uncovered two loaded firearms in a silver-coloured Vauxhall Vectra car in Buskin Place in Carrickfergus. While the two handguns had nothing to do with Weir, tests on the magazine from one firearm, a 9mm Lurgar pistol, uncovered his DNA from the edge of the item.
Defence QC Elis McDermott said the self-employed father of two had received a phone call from his mother who told him she was worried about “noises” coming from a shed at the rear of her home.
Weir, said Ms McDermott, went to investigate and in the shed, found a sock with the magazine inside.
The lawyer said when he “realised what it was, he replaced it in the sock”, and that the following day when he went to check on it, both the magazine and sock were gone.
She added that given the circumstances “of this unusual case”, any custodial sentence should not have an immediate effect.