Former PSNI officer who attempted to buy gun on dark web handed ‘half-and-half’ sentence

A former police officer who attempted to buy firearms and ammunition on the dark web has been jailed.

Dec 15, 2017

A former police officer who attempted to buy firearms and ammunition on the dark web has been jailed. Ex-Police Constable Allen Kennedy will serve five and a half years in prison and another five and a half years on licence. The sentence handed down at Northern Ireland’s Downpatrick Crown Court also takes account of numerous drug-related charges and perverting the course of justice. In October, Kennedy, 31, whose address was given as Strandtown police station, pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition, namely a 9mm handgun, silencer and ten rounds of 9mm ammunition with intent to endanger life, possession of ammunition (50 rounds of 9mm) without a certificate. The former Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officer also pleaded guilty to drugs possession charges related to cannabis, MDMA, cocaine, and possession with intent to supply in relation to the cocaine, as well as a previous charge of perverting the course of justice. Detective Chief Inspector Michael Harvey, of the PSNI’s Cyber Crime Centre, said: “This case and the sentence handed down today continues to show our commitment to keep drugs and firearms off the streets of Northern Ireland. “Those intent on criminal activity should know that even with the perceived anonymity of activity on the ‘dark web’, we will continue to pursue criminals in whatever quarter they operate to keep people safe. “We will continue working with the Public Prosecution Service in order to bring criminals using the cyber world to carry out their illegal acts before the Courts.” Ex-PC Kennedy was first arrested in March 2014 for offences related to perverting the course of justice and misconduct in public office, at which time he was suspended from the forcce. During his suspension he was involved in the purchase of drugs and drug paraphernalia as well as the attempted purchase of firearms. A convert operation was conducted by the PSNI, which resulted in the former officer handing over £500 for what he thought was a handgun, ammunition, and silencer. During a search of Kennedy`s vehicles, two hiding places – disguised as a drinks tin and a WD40 tin – were found to contain 13 dealer bags of white powder, which was found on later inspection to be cocaine. Three other hiding places disguised as batteries were also discovered, as well as a collection of suspected dealer bags and three mobile phones. Examination of Kennedy`s mobile devices found communication involving the attempted purchase of a firearm while text message on another phone were associated with someone involved in the supply of illegal drugs. Searches were also carried out at two properties in the north Down area, with policing finding further hiding places disguised as drinks tins, dealer bags of suspected class A drugs, and documentation associated with the use of the dark web. Kennedy was further arrested for attempted importation of 250g of cannabis, which was in a parcel addressed to him which was intercepted. Passing sentence, the judge said the charge of perverting the course of justice alone could attract a life sentence. He said he was satisfied that Kennedy had told “lie after lie” to evade responsibility for what he had done, by claiming his car had been stolen before being set alight. The judge added that the case was aggravated by Kennedy`s job as a serving police officer at the time. He rejected the defendant`s claims that he wanted to purchase the gun and silencer to end his own life due to the approaching court case for perverting the course of justice.

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