Sunday 17 December 2017

Gardai object to free legal aid for man charged in connection with huge arms seizure

Declan Brady
Declan Brady

Andrew Phelan

Gardai have objected to free legal aid being granted to one of three men charged in connection with a huge arms seizure in west Dublin.

Detectives were told by a judge to give their grounds for objecting to legal aid in writing to lawyers for Declan Brady (51), who is among those facing weapons charges following the discovery of guns and ammunition in a warehouse.

Mr Brady and his co-accused James Walsh (33) and Johnathan Harding (44) were all remanded in custody when they appeared in court for a second time.

The three are charged with possession of five revolvers, ammunition and a silencer.

No bail applications were made on their behalf at Cloverhill District Court and Judge Victor Brady adjourned Mr Brady and Mr Walsh’s cases for a month, for the directions of the DPP to be made available.

Mr Harding was remanded in custody to appear in court on a separate date in two weeks, when a bail application will be made.

The find was made after officers from the Garda Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB) raided a warehouse at Grant Drive in the Greenogue Industrial estate, Rathcoole in a dawn operation on January 24.

Mr Walsh, of Neilstown Drive, Clondalkin, Mr Harding of McNeill Court, Sallins, Co Kildare and Mr Brady, from The Park, Wolston Abbey, Celbridge, also in Kildare are each accused of three offences under the Firearms Act.

They are charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition, possession of a silencer and having five handguns.

These are alleged to have been a Zastava M83-02 six-shot revolver, two special calibre Smith and Wesson model five-shot revolvers and two Rossi five-shot revolvers.

All three men first appeared in Dublin District Court last Friday and were before Cloverhill District Court today via video-link.

Each case was dealt with individually and the accused spoke only to give their names, greet the judge and confirm that they could see and hear the proceedings.

Detective Sergeant Michael Cuffe told Judge Walsh the DPP’s directions were not available and there was consent to a remand.

Mr Brady’s barrister Jane Horgan Jones said she had been informed that the state would be objecting to legal aid in his case.

“There must be some basis and we would like to see that objection,” she said.

Judge Blake said a statement of means should first be furnished by the defence, but Ms Jones said there was “no set formula for it.”

Judge Blake said the statement was “not a huge document” and that it should be provided to the gardai within 72 hours.

He said the gardai were to set out in writing their objections to legal aid, to be done by February 20. The case was adjourned to March 1.

Det Sgt Paul Curran said directions were also not available in Mr Harding’s case. Defence solicitor Brian Coveney said the gardai had been put on notice that there would be a bail application for Mr Harding on the next date.

He asked that the prosecution provides any relevant information to him in advance.

Judge Blake remanded him in custody to appear in court on February 15.

Ms Horgan Jones said Mr Walsh was also consenting to a March 1 adjournment in his case.

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