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Monday 10 December 2018

Case against late billionaire's son over 1,200 bullets collapses

Patrick James Mansfield. Photo: Collins Courts
Patrick James Mansfield. Photo: Collins Courts

The trial of a late billionaire's son who was accused of unlawfully possessing more than 1,200 bullets has collapsed at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Judge Cormac Quinn told the jury that the prosecution had not proved how many rounds of ammunition Patrick James (PJ) Mansfield was entitled to possess.

He said that because of this, the jury would be speculating on how many rounds Mr Mansfield (41) was not entitled to possess, and directed them to return a not guilty verdict on day three of the trial.

Mr Mansfield had denied possessing 1,252 rounds of .22 calibre ammunition without the relevant firearms licence at his former home in Coldwater Lakes, Saggart, Co Dublin, on January 29, 2015.

Mr Mansfield, whose current address was given as Saggart House, Saggart, has no previous convictions.

Judge Quinn told the jury that Mr Mansfield had been permitted by a firearms certificate to hold a Walther .22 pistol and a certain amount of .22 calibre ammunition.

He said gardai thought this number was 300 bullets.

Witness

Judge Quinn reminded the jurors that they had seen a photo of one side of Mr Mansfield's firearms certificate which showed he had been authorised to hold the gun.

The judge said a photo of the other side of the certificate, which had not been produced, would have shown how many rounds of ammunition Mr Mansfield had been permitted to hold.

He added that the person who had authorised the certificate had also not been produced as a witness in Mr Mansfield's trial.

The judge said there were "stringent requirements" with prosecuting a case, and a jury was not allowed to speculate on any issue.

Judge Quinn thanked the jurors for their diligence in the case and said he hoped that they had found it an "instructive experience".

During the trial, the jury heard evidence that Mr Mansfield was an authorised member of a gun club and a person "of good character".

After his arrest, he told gardai he did not know he had that much ammunition in the house.

The trial heard that during an earlier audit inspection of firearms licensees, gardai checked out all the firearms licensed to Mr Mansfield but never asked for any ammunition to be produced.

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