Sunday 18 February 2018

Mother-of-one accused of bringing loaded gun to Dublin station faces trial

Gardai arrested Nikita outside Terminal 1 at Dublin Airport
Gardai arrested Nikita outside Terminal 1 at Dublin Airport

Andrew Phelan

A mother-of-one is facing trial accused of bringing a loaded gun to a Dublin train station.

Nikita Murtagh (20) had the case against her adjourned for the preparation of a book of evidence, after a judge ruled it was too serious to be dealt with at district court level.

Nikita Murtagh was charged with possession of firearms
Nikita Murtagh was charged with possession of firearms

The young mum could face 14 years behind bars if convicted of the offence.

Ms Murtagh, from Mariner's Port, Sheriff Street in the north inner city is charged with unlawful possession of a CZ model semi-automatic pistol with two rounds of 7.65 Browning calibre ammunition and one shotgun cartridge.

The offences are alleged to have happened at Connolly Station on July 19.

Ms Murtagh had been subject of a gagging order, which banned the media from naming her.

At her first hearing at Dublin District Court on July 21, Judge Gerard Jones, then presiding, had agreed to a defence application for reporting restrictions and he directed journalists not to name her due to "safety concerns".

However, Judge Alan Mitchell subsequently discontinued that reporting ban after accepting submissions from the media that there was "no legal basis" for it.

When the case came back before Judge Mitchell, the district court heard the directions of the DPP were still outstanding.

However, Judge Mitchell asked for a summary of the allegations to be given so he could decide whether to accept jurisdiction.

After hearing this, he refused jurisdiction and adjourned the case. It will be sent to a higher court for trial when a book of evidence is ready.

A co-accused 23-year-old man, also from Dublin's north inner city, had his case adjourned to a separate date.

A gagging order on his identification by the media remains in place.

Ms Murtagh is alleged to have handed over a bag containing the loaded firearm and ammunition to the man and he is alleged to have carried it on a Dublin to Belfast train.

The pair were arrested following an intelligence-led operation involving officers from the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.

At her first court appearance, Gda Marguerite Reilly had objected to bail, saying Ms Murtagh had strong links outside the jurisdiction, in particular in Northern Ireland, and she has close associates throughout Europe.

Ms Murtagh was apprehended by gardai at Terminal 1 at Dublin Aiprort while, gardai believed, she was attempting to flee the jurisdiction.

Her solicitor told her bail hearing that Ms Murtagh denied knowing what was in the bag.

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