Judge halts trial of late tycoon's son accused of 1,000-bullet haul
A judge has halted the trial of a son of late billionaire hotel boss Jim Mansfield on ammunition charges, ruling that the case is too serious to be dealt with at district court level.
Patrick James (PJ) Mansfield was being tried at Dublin District Court for having more than 1,000 bullets without a licence, with evidence from several garda witnesses heard, when Judge Ann Ryan refused jurisdiction to continue with the case. She adjourned proceedings for the preparation of a book of evidence.
Mr Mansfield will instead be sent for trial by jury to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
Meanwhile, Mr Mansfield's brother Jim Mansfield Jr had his case adjourned for mention on the same date. He is facing a similar charge arising from a separate garda search but no evidence has yet been heard.
PJ Mansfield (39) is accused of possession of 1,257 rounds of Walther ammunition without a firearms licence at his former home at Coldwater Lakes in Saggart on January 29, 2015.
Jim Mansfield Jr (49) is charged with having 180 rounds of .22 Walther ammunition without a firearms licence at his home at Tassagart House in Saggart. They have both pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The accused are sons of Jim Mansfield Sr, who passed away in January 2014. He was the businessman behind the Citywest Hotel, Weston Airport and a number of other high-profile ventures. Several of these other businesses have since collapsed.
When PJ Mansfield's case got under way, gardaí alleged a total of 1,557 .22 Walther bullets were found in a search of his house at Coldwater Lakes.
Ammunition was found in a gun safe, a wardrobe and a garage, gardaí said. Of the Walther bullets found, 1,257 were in excess of what was permitted under licence, it was alleged.
Gardaí also found a Walther pistol loaded with one bullet behind a picture hanging above the bed in the master bedroom, the court heard. A shotgun was found in the gun safe and both firearms were legally licensed.
Giving evidence, Detective Sergeant Brendan Flanagan who was attached to the Criminal Assets Bureau, said a warrant was issued at the District Court and he went to PJ Mansfield's address at around 7am.
The accused was presented with a warrant to search the premises by Det Sgt Flanagan. There were three other gardaí and a revenue officer present.
Cross-examined by Tony McGillicuddy BL, for the defence, Det Sgt Flanagan confirmed ammunition had been found in a gun safe, a garage and wardrobe. Detective Garda Nigel Petrie said the accused was only licensed to have 300 rounds so he separated those out and seized the excess.
Judge Ryan adjourned the case to a date in January.
Jim Mansfield Jr's case remains before the district court.