Man found with outlawed Taser device at Belfast Crumlin Road checkpoint jailed
A Belfast man who claimed he was carrying a Taser to scare off any would-be attackers was jailed for nine months today.
Thomas Galloway, 30, told police he had the electroshock weapon due to fears for his safety as he went through the city's Ardoyne area.
But he was handed a four-month prison term for possessing the outlawed device, along with cannabis and cocaine, when he was stopped last year.
His period behind bars was then extended by a further five months with the activation of previously suspended sentences.
Galloway, of Charleville Street in the city, was a passenger in a car halted by police at a nighttime checkpoint on the Crumlin Road on September 16.
Belfast Magistrates' Court heard he handed over the Taser as officers began a search of the vehicle.
Six small bags bearing a cannabis logo and a rock of white powder were also recovered from the car.
During interviews he claimed a friend had given him the Taser because he planned to walk home past the Ardoyne shops, a prosecution lawyer revealed.
Galloway pleaded guilty to possession of a prohibited weapon and having Class A and B drugs.
Defence counsel Chris Hogg insisted his client had candidly admitted having the Taser, but only for his own protection.
"He was walking past an area where he felt he may be attacked," the barrister said.
"His intention was to scare, not to hurt anyone."
Seeking to have sentence deferred, Mr Hogg argued that Galloway should be given time to seek help for drug abuse and mental health issues.
But District Judge Alan White told the defendant: "You're a high risk of re-offending."
Combining the sentence for having the Taser and drugs with the suspended term for earlier, undisclosed offences, Mr White confirmed Galloway will be imprisoned for a total of nine months.