A 65-year-old man charged with the IRA membership and the possession of two handguns in Dublin’s south inner city has been granted bail by the Special Criminal Court.
Patrick Kennedy and his co-accused Gary Yeung (31) were arrested by gardai last Saturday afternoon on James’ Street as part of ongoing investigations in to the activities of dissident republicans in Dublin and Limerick.
The pair were both charged with the unlawful possession of a .455 Colt model ‘New Service’ revolver and a .455 Calibre Webley Mark 6 revolver bearing serial number 324736 at James’ Street, Dublin 8 on September 14th, 2013.
Mr Kennedy, with an address at South Earl Street, Dublin 8 was charged with membership of an unlawful organisation within the State styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA on the same date.
Gary Yeung, with an address at Bawnmore View, Crossagalla, Limerick was also charged with the possession of one round of .22-250 calibre Sako make ammunition and one round of .357 Mag calibre CBC make ammunition at his home address on September 14th, 2013.
State Solicitor Liam Mulholland this morning told the non-jury court that gardai were objecting to bail because of the circumstances of Mr Kennedy’s arrest and the seriousness of the charges laid against him.
Detective Sergeant Padraig Boyce told Mr Mulholland that gardai feared if Mr Kennedy was released on bail there was a possibility he would commit further scheduled offences.
Presiding judge Mr Justice Paul Butler said Mr Kennedy was charged with a very serious firearms offence which carried a maximum sentence of 14 years and a presumptive minimum of five years. He said that while the court had previously set bail in the region of €20,000 on similar cases it had to consider each case “on its own merits”.
Mr Justice Butler said the court had noted the objection from the State and that Mr Kennedy could face a lengthy jail sentence.
However, he said the court also noted that Mr Kennedy was 65 years old and gardai had fairly given evidence that he was not a difficult man to find.
Mr Justice Butler said the court was “prepared to move the goalposts somewhat” and set bail set on one independent surety of €10,000 or on two independent sureties of €6,000, and on Mr Kennedy’s own bond of €100.
Counsel for the accused man, Mr Michael Bowman BL, said that Mr Kennedy would also abide by a number of other conditions, including signing on daily at Kevin Street Garda Station between 9am and 9pm and residing at his home address.
Mr Kennedy must observe a curfew between 10pm and 7am, must surrender his passport and cannot apply for any new travel documentation nor leave the jurisdiction.
Mr Bowman said the accused man must provide a mobile phone number to gardai and ensure that the phones is in operation at all times and is the sole number used by Mr Kennedy, who is to keep the peace and be of good behaviour.
The accused man also cannot contact any proposed prosecution witness in the case or associate with anyone charged with or convicted of a scheduled offence. Mr Kennedy is not to associate with his co-accused except in the presence of their respective legal teams for the purposes of consultation.
Mr Justice Butler approved a legal aid application for Mr Kennedy after there was no objection from the State.
He remanded Mr Kennedy in custody with consent to bail to appear before the court again on November 14th.
Counsel for Mr Yeung, Mr Keith Spencer BL, told the court that he was “90 per cent of the way” in making a bail application for his client but a proposed surety could not attend court today. He asked for liberty to re-enter the matter next week.
Mr Justice Paul Butler, sitting with Judge Margaret Heneghan and Judge Cormac Dunne, remanded Mr Yeung in custody with liberty to apply for bail to appear before the court again on November 14th.
He also approved an application for legal aid made on behalf of Mr Yeung after there was no objection from the State.