*Ennis District Court

A father of three school going children and a “law abiding PAYE worker” has signed guilty pleas to the unlawful possession of an M16 machine gun used in war zones, 179 rounds of ammunition and a 30 round capacity magazine in a forested area at Shannon last September.

At Ennis District Court on Wednesday, Evan Little (32) of Inis Eagla, Shannon, Co Clare signed the guilty pleas in the presence of Judge Alec Gabbett and his solicitor, Daragh Hassett in connection with three firearms charges from September 15th last.

Mr Little – currently on remand in custody – was now go forward to Ennis Circuit Court to be sentenced on the signed pleas of guilty.

Judge Gabbett said he acknowledged the signed guilty pleas but stated that he technically needed to give Mr Little the alibi warning concerning the three charges in the event that Mr Little changed his guilty pleas before his circuit court appearance.

Mr Little – who had a number of supporters in court for his court appearance – said he had made the signed pleas and said ’Thanks judge.”

Mr Hassett asked that the legal aid cert be extended to cover one counsel in the circuit court for the moment commenting “there are serious charges”.

Mr Little signing the pleas removes the need of the State to draw up a Book of Evidence in the case.

Mr Little is charged with having in his unlawful possession an M16 assault rifle and 179 rounds of ammunition in a forested area at Clonmoney West, Shannon on September 15th.

Mr Little is also charged with having in his unlawful possession a 30 round capacity magazine at Clonmoney West, Shannon on September 15th last.

Mr Little was first arrested arising from a joint operation between the Emergency Response Unit and the Clare Divisional Drugs Unit.

Mr Little has been on remand in custody since last September after being first refused bail in the district court and in the High Court in November.

At the district court bail hearing last September, Mr Hassett said that his client “is a law abiding PAYE worker” and that his client’s time in custody is the first time Mr Little has ever spent time in prison.

Det Garda Ger Cunningham said that Gardai were objecting to bail due to the seriousness of the charges and the significant calibre weapon involved which he said is commonly used by military personnel.

Mr Little is a qualified tree surgeon.

On the weapon seized, Judge Alec Gabbett commented last September: “This is a machine gun. This is the type of automatic rifle used in war zones.”

Mr Little will appear again in court next month at Ennis Circuit Court.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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