GARDAI who stopped a car driven by a Dublin man accused of demanding €50,000 from another man on pain of death found a black balaclava and other items after a search, his Special Criminal Court trial has heard.
Derek Palmer (56), of Corduff Green, Blanchardstown, has pleaded not guilty to making an unwarranted demand of one Wayne Whitehouse with menaces, namely that he pay the sum of €50,000 or be killed, at Hampton Green, Balbriggan on July 14th, 2011.
The court has heard evidence that on the evening in question two men claiming to be members of the Continuity IRA called to the house in Hampton Green, alleged that Wayne Whitehouse was a drug dealer and told him he was to pay €50,000 that night or they would take him out.
Garda Enda Muldoon this morning told Mr Vincent Heneghan BL, for the State, that he and his colleague Garda Brian Daly stopped two cars - a black Toyota Avensis and a gold Opel Vectra – which were each carrying five males in the Castleland area of Balbriggan at approximately 9:30pm on the evening in question.
He said he immediately told the driver of the Opel Vectra to turn off the engine and informed him the vehicle was going to be searched under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act.
Garda Muldoon said the driver of the Vectra got out of the car and handed over his driver’s license, which indentified him as Derek Palmer.
He told Mr Heneghan that he found a black balaclava in a backseat footwell of the Vectra, as well two unpaired gloves and a black peaked cap after the search.
Garda Damien O’Reilly told Mr Heneghan that he searched the area in the vicinity of the two stopped cars and found a black balaclava and a copy of Saoirse Nua magazine dated July 2011.
In a statement which was read in to evidence at the trial last week, Wayne Whitehouse said that one of the men who called to Hampton Green had held up a newspaper with pictures of a hearse and a coffin flanked by a military colour party.
He said the man had pointed to the picture of the coffin and told him: “I am the Continuity IRA, this is what I do”.
Wayne Whitehouse also stated that he had noticed two cars, a black Toyota Avensis and a “goldy” Opel Vectra, parked in the vicinity of the house.
The court later heard evidence from Garda Brian Daly, who told Mr Heneghan that a search of the Toyota Avensis car yielded a camouflaged hat, while Garda Darragh Lynch, who also searched the Avensis, told Mr Heneghan that he located a pick-axe handle in the boot.
The trial continues in front of presiding judge Mr Justice Paul Butler, sitting with Judge Margaret Heneghan and Judge William Hamill.