Sunday 25 September 2016

Trial of man accused of possessing firearms and ammunition hears gardai found items during home search

Daniel Hickey

Published 18/04/2016 | 15:45

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The Special Criminal Court trial of a Dublin man accused of possession of firearms and ammunition has heard that gardai found those items during a search of the accused man's home.

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The court also heard evidence from a member of the Special Detective Unit that the search was part of an investigation into the importing of firearms and ammunition from the USA.

Pierce Moran (59) of Church Road, East Wall, Dublin 3, is charged with the unlawful possession of various semi-automatic pistols, including an 8mm Knall calibre Valtro model AP29, a 9mm short calibre CZ model 83, a 9mm calibre Makarov PM and a 9mm short calibre Baikal model IZH79-8, as well as a silencer suitable for use with the Makarov pistol and a 12-gauge Beretta model A.300 semi-automatic, sawn-off shotgun at Church Road, East Wall, Dublin 3 on November 15th, 2014.

Mr Moran is also charged with the possession of various firearm magazines, suitable for use in the pistols from the first charge, at the same address on the same date.

Additionally, he is charged with the possession of assorted ammunition, also at the same address and on the same date.

The court entered on Mr Moran's behalf pleas of not guilty for each of the three charges on the indictment.

Evidence regarding a search warrant and the arrest of Mr Moran, heard last week during a voir dire, a trial within a trial to determine the admissibility of evidence, was today/yesterday (Mon) ruled admissible by the court's three judges. 

Mr Justice Paul Butler, presiding with Judge Alison Lindsay and Judge Flann Brennan, said that the court rejected defence counsel Hugh Hartnett SC's applications to rule the evidence inadmissible.

Last week, the trial heard evidence from members of the Special Detective Unit.

Detective Sergeant John Kearney told prosecuting counsel Vincent Heneghan BL that on November 15th, 2014, he travelled with other members of the SDU to Mr Moran's home on Church Road, East Wall.

The detective showed Mr Moran a search warrant and explained to him they were carrying out investigations into IRA activities, the court heard.

The front door was the only access to the apartment, the detective said.

In cross-examination, he told Mr Hartnett that there was another door in the apartment, in a room off the bedroom.

"We couldn't gain exit from that door," he added. 

Mr Hartnett asked the detective if the door led to a laneway next to the apartment.

"The door is leading somewhere but where it is I don't know," the detective replied. 

Detective Garda Jude Ainsworth told the court that he searched Mr Moran's bedroom and found four firearms, a silencer, magazines and ammunition inside a Dunnes Stores bag.

Detective Garda Francis Crowley told the court that he searched a workshop room, off the bedroom, and found a sawn-off semi-automatic shotgun wrapped inside a black plastic bin liner.

The court also heard evidence from Detective Garda Brian Power, who said that the detectives were investigating the importing of firearms and ammunition from the USA.

He arrested Mr Moran, the court heard.

The rest of today's proceedings consisted of legal argument.

The trial continues.

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