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Gardai took my Rolex after car search and I want it back, man tells High Court

A MAN wants the High Court to order the return of a Rolex watch gardai seized from him.

The action has been brought by John Connors, who says the watch was bought in London by his mother for €4,900 cash in 2009. It was initially given as a gift to Mr Connors' father, who subsequently passed it on to his son, the court heard.

Last March, the watch was taken from Mr Connors by gardai after his vehicle was stopped and searched.

His lawyers then filed an application to have the watch returned to him.

Earlier this month, when the matter came before Dublin District Court, Mr Connors says evidence was given on behalf of the Gardai that no Rolex fitting the description and serial number of the watch in question had been reported stolen on the Garda PULSE system.

Mr Connors' also produced a receipt and contact details of the person from who the watch was purchased from.

However Judge Victor Blake who heard the case, made an order forfeiting the property to the state.

Mr Connors claims that in making the order Judge Blake erred in law and acted in excess of his jurisdiction. He claims there was no evidence given that the owner of the watch was a person other than Mr Connors and there was no evidence to suggest Mr Connors acquired the watch by unlawful means.

In his proceedings against Judge Blake the Garda Commissioner, Ireland and the Attorney General, Mr Connors is seeking an order quashing the forfeiture of the Rolex watch to the state under the the 1897 Police Property Act, and an order directing the Gardai to return the watch to him.

He is also seeking a number of declarations that provisions of the 1897 Police Property Act are repugnant to the 1937 Constitution, along with damages for breaches of his constitutional rights and rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

In an affidavit, Mr Connors' solicitor Michelle Sheeran says the watch was taken from him last March after a member of the Gardai saw him pass it to another person in the vehicle.

He did this because as a member of the Travelling Community he previously had bad experiences involving the seizure of property by the Gardai.

However, this was denied by the Gardai, the affidavit adds.

Permission to bring the action was granted, on an ex-parte (one-side only) basis, by Mr Justice Michael Peart who made the matter returnable to a date in January.