Tuesday 20 March 2018

Counterfeit trial hears evidence of containers being dug out of bunkers

Nicola Donnelly

THE trial of four men accused of having equipment for printing counterfeit currency has heard evidence from a building contractor who lifted out two containers buried underground and a portakabin.

The four men Anthony Sloan (57), a native of Belfast with an address at Ard na Mara, Dundalk, Co Louth and his co-accused Liam Delaney (41), with addresses at Mountrath and Borris-in-Ossory, Co Laois, Kevin Flanagan (43), of Borris-in-Ossory and Andrew Poole (43), of Portlaoise, Co Laois, have all pleaded not guilty to possession of equipment, including printers and cutting machines, to manufacture counterfeit currency at Ballybrophy, Borris-in-Ossory, Co Laois on May 31st, 2010.

Michael Holland told the court he received a call from gardai to attend a yard near Ballybrophy in Co Laois on June 2nd, 2010.

He brought machinery including a teleporter with him to lift up the portakabin and remove the buried containers.

He told prosecuting counsel Mr Garnet Orange, BL, once he lifted up the portakabin, he could barely see the two containers which were covered in concrete, through a hole in the ground.

"The two containers were side by side and well insulated with rectangular blocks on the outside of them and steal anchors holding them in the ground," said Mr Holland.

The court heard earlier that gardai who raided a yard near Ballybrophy found the four accused men in a portakabin. Inside the portkabin gardai discovered a trap door, hidden under a chest of drawers, which led to an underground bunker constructed from two forty foot containers.

Within this bunker gardai discovered a number of printers, cutting machines and other materials used in printing.

Evidence was also heard from Ms Kerry-Ann Lambert-Flower, a centre manager at Stenaline who produced records showing bookings made on the ferry under the name Kevin Flanagan for a single journey with a vehicle from Dublin to Holyhead on January 27th, 2010 and a single journey with a vehicle from Holyhead to Dublin on March 31st, 2010. She also gave evidence that bookings were made under the name of L.Delaney and Liam Delaney for journeys with vehicles from Holyhead to Dublin on March 10th, 2010 and on April 8th, 2010.

Under cross-examining by defence counsel for Mr Delaney, Mr Fergal Foley, BL, Ms Lambert-Flower agreed that no ID documents were produced when the bookings were made as they were "verbal bookings."

She also said there is no way of verifying the registration number of the vehicle given on the bookings actually travelled.

An Irish Ferries supervisor gave evidence that bookings were made by K.Flanagan on January, 28th 2010 departing Holyhead to Dublin. Paul O'Brien also gave evidence bookings were made with the ferry company under Liam Delaney for a single journey with a vehicle from Holyhead to Dublin on February 5th, 2010 and a single journey from Dublin to Holyhead on March 9th, 2010.

Mr O'Brien told Mr Orange no ID is checked when bookings are made. He also said some of the bookings were made at the port at the time of travel and other bookings were made on-line.

"We don't have to verify passenger names travelling between Ireland and England," said Mr O'Brien.

After a challenge on Wednesday by counsel for Mr Flanagan, Mr Fergal Kavanagh SC, the trial entered a voir dire - a trial within a trial - to determine the admissibility of certain interviews conducted between gardai and Mr Flanagan. Presiding judge Mr Justice Paul Butler rejected the evidence of the defendant. The trial continues.

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