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Bodybuilding champ facing ban after he admits rifle charge

A BODYBUILDING champion who admitted possession of an assault rifle and drugs has had his case referred to the sport's international representative body.

Brian Hickey (28) is due to represent Ireland in the National Amateur Bodybuilders' Association's (NABBA) world championships this summer.

This week he pleaded guilty to possession of an AKM assault rifle, as well as having cannabis for sale or supply, in an incident in Dublin.

Hickey, of Palmerstown Woods, Palmerstown, admitted, at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, charges of possession of an AKM assault rifle and a quantity of cannabis for sale or supply at Wheatfield Drive, Clondalkin on September 3, 2008.

Defence counsel Shane Costelloe said his client had no previous convictions and applied for him to be remanded on bail so he could represent Ireland in an upcoming competition in June.

Judge Katherine Delahunt granted the application and will hear the case at the end of that month.

President of the Irish branch of NABBA, Paul Byrne, told the Herald he could not comment on Hickey's case, but confirmed that it was now being dealt with by the body at an international level.

He said he had never heard of members being struck off because of court proceedings in the past. It is not known if it is open to NABBA to take disciplinary action in such cases.

Hickey has been a member of NABBA for four years and is due to represent Ireland at the World Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships in Malta on June 19.



fatpuss

NABBA, which originated in Britain, hosts an annual Mr Ireland competition, which includes a world championship qualifier. Hickey came first place in his class in the event, which was held in the Olympia theatre last September.

The organisation has around 300 members in Ireland.

NABBA's flagship bodybuilding contest in Ireland made the news in 2008 when theft suspect Alan "Fatpuss" Bradley made his competitive debut. The bulked-up Bradley vied for the title of Mr Ireland -- the nation's top body building prize. But while he might have been a hit with the audience, he failed to make the grade and the judges did not even rank him in the top six of his category: first timers.

Bradley, of Churchfields, Kents-town, Co Meath, and Wayne Bradley, of Ratoath Road, Finglas, Dublin, faces trial this year on a conspiracy charge over the €2m theft at Tesco on Shackleton Road, Celbridge, Co Kildare, on 2 November, 2007.

aphelan@herald.ie