A man appealing a decision to have his firearms certificate revoked is due to reappear in September after it was revealed that a complicated hearing into his case and a medical report would be required.
Ivan Miller, Cartronboy, Ballymahon, appeared before Judge Seamus Hughes at last week’s sitting of Longford District Court.
The court heard that, on March 22, 2020, Mr Miller allegedly threatened to use the gun to shoot a woman with whom he said he had an intimate relationship.
Solicitor for the defence, Frank Gearty, explained that his client is “of previously good character”.
“This was a personal moment of great crisis. But the firearm was not involved,” he insisted.
“There was an affair going on with him and an older lady. He went to the house and found her with another man. He damaged her car.”
“So there’s no question of him going to the house with a gun?” asked Judge Hughes.
“The lady’s statement says that he said he’ll go back to get the firearm and shoot her. She denies the relationship with him. They’re distant cousins,” said Mr Gearty, before reading from the lady’s statement to gardaí.
“She says that ‘at 9pm he arrived at the house and banged on the door, then charged around the house like a lunatic. He asked me to talk outside. He took a clay statue and threw it through the window of my car’.
Mr Miller insisted in court last week that he was in “an intimate relationship” with the woman but, when asked by Judge Hughes whether or not that was true, the woman said it was not.
“Why do you think he’d say that?” asked Judge Hughes.
“I don’t know,” the woman replied.
“He’s saying he had an intimate affair with you. Did you socialise publicly?” asked Judge Hughes.
Mr Miller explained that the pair had been out publicly together on a number of occasions.
“We went to the zoo. We went out to Athlone for meals and stuff. She always tried to keep me hidden,” he said.
Mr Gearty explained that a number of text messages had been sent to his client by the woman after the incident, reading a number of them in court, including one that read ‘are you okay? x’ and another which read ‘I didn’t sleep with (him). I would never hurt you’.
“One of them had a kiss at the end of it,” said Mr Gearty, referring to the ‘x’ at the end of the text.
“Plenty of people put an x in a text to their cousins. It doesn’t mean there’s an intimate relationship between them. I know you’re old-fashioned,” Judge Hughes mused.
The court heard that Mr Miller’s mother had asked the woman if she would assist with Mr Miller who she said had been going through a “dark period”.
The woman had suggested that he rear some lambs on his farm, which she purchased for him.
“Why would you buy lambs for him?” Judge Hughes asked the woman.
“Out of the goodness of my heart,” she replied, “he does farming for other people.”
Turning to the issue of the gun, Mr Gearty stressed that his client did not use the firearm on the day in question.
“He’s a very sick man. He carries a colostomy bag. He can’t play sports. Shooting has been his only sport and only interest.
He’s saying to this lady and to the community that there was no gun involved and no threat,” he explained.
When asked when he got the gun, Mr Miller said he had it for two and a half years but kept it locked up and hadn’t used it since this alleged incident.
He added that he had joined the Ballymahon Gun Club and used his firearm to shoot foxes while out lamping.
Solicitor, Mark Connellan, who was representing Superintendent Jim Delaney last week referred to the woman’s statement to gardaí, which led to the Super’s decision to revoke Mr Miller’s gun licence.
Reading from the woman’s statement, Mr Connellan explaind that Mr Miller had allegedly arrived at the house and banged on the door, running around the house “like a lunatic”.
He asked the woman to come outside to talk, the statement read, before taking a clay statue and smashing the window of her car.
“He then went to the boot of his car to get a wheel brace,” said Mr Connellan, reading from the woman’s statement.
“He broke two more windows. He took out a knife and said he knew how to cut an artery so I’d bleed to death. He said he’d get his gun and blow the head off me.
“He said not to tell the guards and he demanded €1,000. He said he’d burn my cabin down. He said if he doesn’t get me, his friend will.”
“Why do you think he did that? That’s an extremely violent encounter,” said Judge Hughes, addressing the woman.
“He accused me of being with somebody else which I certainly wasn’t. Why he broke my windows, I don’t know,” she replied.
“You’re entitled to have relations with a man. What business was it of his. Was he trying to develop a relationship with you?” asked Judge Hughes.
“Possibly,” she said.
“He seems to have shown extreme anger. He was in a dark place. Did he get psychiatric help?” Judge Hughes asked.
Mr Miller explained that he had received help a number of years ago for anxiety.
Mr Gearty explained that his client is 24 years old, while the woman is 45 years of age, adding that Mr Miller was insisting there was a relationship between them.
“She told him that she was unwell and he went to the house on March 22 (2020),” he said.
“He called out and looked in the window and could see her in bed with another man and he was naked.
“She continued to send him texts that were very friendly. He didn’t respond to the texts,” he added.
Taking the situation into consideration, Judge Hughes concluded that the case could not be dealt with last week.
“I’ll need a doctor’s report for his medical history. We will have to adjourn this,” he said, asking if Supt Delaney would be willing to return at a later date.
When Supt Delaney agreed, the case was adjourned to September 7 of this year.
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