Courtroom uproar as eight are sent for non-jury trial
Accused face litany of violence-related charges
EIGHT men will be tried at the non-jury Special Criminal Court for a variety of offences, including threatening to kill a man, violent disorder and demanding money with menaces.
The accused men, aged between 19 and 51 and all from Limerick, appeared at the city's District Court yesterday.
All eight wore handcuffs during their hearings after Limerick state solicitor Michael Murray told Judge Tom O'Donnell that some of the men were not co-operating with prison officers yesterday morning.
Judge O'Donnell said he was not comfortable with the fact that the men were handcuffed in court, but he said the "antics" of some of them yesterday and last Tuesday dictated this.
Mr Murray applied on behalf of the DPP to have the accused men returned on trial to a sitting of the Special Criminal Court. The judge acceded to the application in all cases and remanded the eight men in custody until their trial dates.
They were all given the alibi warning and informed that they must provide the names and addresses of potential alibi witnesses to gardai within 14 days.
Ger Dundon (24) of Hyde Road, Limerick, has been charged with violent disorder at Sarsfield Avenue, Garryowen, Limerick, on February 17, 2010.
As he received the alibi warning yesterday, Dundon made a one-fingered gesture to the judge and declared that he was "not listening to the court".
Jimmy Collins (47) of Crecora Avenue, Limerick, and his son, Gareth Collins-Keogh (27), from Hyde Avenue, Limerick, are charged with threatening to kill or cause serious harm to Mark Heffernan on October 17, 2009 at the Milk Market, Limerick, and with demanding money with menaces.
The father and son have also been charged with demanding money with menaces at John Carew Park, Southill, Limerick, on unspecified dates between January 29, 2009 and February 27, 2009.
The court heard that Jimmy Collins had replied: "F**k off, you stitch-up c**ts, go f**k yourselves" when issued with new charges by Det Gda Senan O'Sullivan.
He protested at having to wear the handcuffs in court and told the judge that "mass murderers" wouldn't be treated in that manner.
"This wouldn't happen 100 years ago. We are treated like dogs. This court is a disgrace," Collins said.
Gareth Collins-Keogh is also charged with violent disorder at Sarsfield Avenue, Garryowen, on February 17, 2010. When he received an additional charge, he replied: "F**k off, you scumbag b*****d."
Christopher McCarthy (27) of Crecora Avenue, Limerick, is charged with threatening to kill or cause serious harm to Mark Heffernan on October 17, 2009 at the Milk Market, Limerick, and with demanding money with menaces on the same date.
He was also charged with demanding money with menaces from the same man at John Carew Park between September 1, 2008 and October 25, 2008 yesterday.
Christopher McCormack (27) of McNamara Terrace, Wolfe Tone Street, Limerick, and his brother, David McCormack (25) from Crecora Avenue, Weston, Limerick, are both charged with violent disorder at Sarsfield Avenue, Garryowen, Limerick, on February 17, 2010.
David McCormack yesterday told the court he "threatened no one" and said he would "be out some day".
Michael Bridgeman (51) from Glenview, Ballyneety, Co Limerick, is charged with threatening to kill or cause serious harm to Mark Heffernan at John Carew Park, Limerick, on dates between January 29, 2009 and February 12, 2010.
He is also charged with demanding money with menaces on the same date.
Patrick Pickford (19) from Talbot Avenue, Prospect, Limerick, has been charged with demanding money with menaces.
All of the accused men, who are receiving legal aid, were presented with books of evidence relating to their charges yesterday. They were arrested in a series of raids by gardai last April and have been held in custody since then.
Tight security surrounded Limerick courthouse during yesterday's hearings.
The non-jury Special Criminal Court was set up to deal with terrorists during the Troubles, but since the peace process it has been used on a number of occasions to deal with more mainstream criminal trials.