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Accused dropped handgun in park, court to hear

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Charges: Paul Norton arriving at court. Photo: Collins

Charges: Paul Norton arriving at court. Photo: Collins

Charges: Paul Norton arriving at court. Photo: Collins

A man dropped a bag containing a loaded handgun and ammunition as he was chased by gardaí through the Stardust Memorial Park, the Special Criminal Court will hear.

Paul Norton (31), from Cromcastle Court, Coolock, Dublin 17, has pleaded not guilty to the unlawful possession of a Beretta handgun and 31 rounds of 9mm ammunition at the Stardust Memorial Park in Coolock, Dublin, on October 5, 2019.

John Byrne BL, prosecuting, yesterday told the court the State's case was one of recognition and the court would hear evidence Mr Norton dropped a bag while being pursued by gardaí.

It is alleged that the bag contained the Beretta 92, with a single round in the chamber, a full magazine containing 15 9mm rounds and a further 15 9mm rounds of various descriptions. Mr Byrne said on the night of October 5, at around 9pm, Detective Gardaí Jason Flynn and Keith Cassidy of Coolock Garda Station were on patrol in the area in an unmarked car near a cul-de-sac off Bunratty Road.

The two observed a parked navy Volkswagen Passat, which pulled out and passed them as they entered the cul-de-sac.

Mr Byrne said gardaí turned around and attempted to stop the car to ascertain the identity of the three men inside, signalling to the driver to pull over by using flashing blue lights.

However, the car did not stop and a high-speed pursuit ensued over 4.5km, which ended when the Passat crashed on Greencastle Drive in Coolock.

The three occupants fled the vehicle into Stardust Memorial Park and gardaí boxed in the Passat with their patrol car.

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