THE fingerprints of a Dublin man accused of demanding €50,000 from another man on pain of death were found on a republican magazine recovered in the area close to where he was arrested, 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 said he was to pay €50,000 that night or they would shoot him and “take him out”.
In a statement which was read in to evidence during 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”.
Brendan Whitehouse, a brother of Wayne, also made a statement to gardai where he said that one of the men who called to the house agreed he was as a grey-haired man pictured in the magazine and said he showed this to people to prove he “meant business”.
The accused man was arrested after gardai stopped and searched the gold Opel Vectra car he was driving in the Castleland area of Balbriggan at approximately 9:30pm on the night in question.
The non-jury court heard that gardai who searched the area in the vicinity of the stopped car found a black balaclava and a copy of the republican Saoirse Nua magazine dated June- July 2011.
Detective Garda Connor Kiely this afternoon (Thursday) told Mr Vincent Heneghan BL, prosecuting, that he had been working for nine years in the fingerprint section of the Garda Technical Bureau and had undertaken a number of fingerprint and scenes of crime examination courses both here and in the UK.
He said that his colleague Garda Shane Flannery passed him a file containing a set of fingerprints belonging to the accused man Derek Palmer and six photographs of marks developed from the copy of Saoirse Nua magazine.
Det Gda Kiely said that, after analysing the photographed marks and comparing them to the fingerprints of Derek Palmer, he was satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that four of the marks on the Saorise Nua magazine had been made by the right middle finger, left thumb and left forefinger of Derek Palmer.
He told Mr Heneghan that two marks on the magazine remained unidentified.
Det Gda Kiely said that his analysis showed at least 12 identifying characteristics shared by the marks and the fingerprints of Derek Palmer.
He agreed with counsel for the defence, Mr Padraig Dwyer SC, that he could not say when the marks had been left on the magazine.
The trial continues on Tuesday front of presiding judge Mr Justice Paul Butler, when it is anticipated the prosecution will close its case.