Friday 26 April 2019

Two men stopped by gardai had 150kg of explosives in the car they were travelling in, court hears

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Alison O'Riordan

Two Dublin men were stopped by gardai in a car which was found to contain 150kg of explosives, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

John Brock (46), with an address at Cushlawn Park, Tallaght, Dublin 24 and John Roche (55), of Bridgefoot Street, Dublin 8, are both charged with possession of 57kg of homemade explosives, consisting of ammonium nitrate fuel mix, and thirty-eight 2.5kg rolls of Kemegel industrial explosives at Naas Road, Dublin 12, on April 13th, 2016.

Arraigned on the charges before the non-jury court today, Mr Brock and Mr Roche remained seated and pleaded not guilty to the counts.

Opening the prosecution case this morning, Anne-Marie Lawlor SC said the three-judge court will hear evidence regarding the two men’s movements on the Naas Road on April 13.

Ms Lawlor said members of the National Surveillance Unit (NSU) will give evidence of observing the accused men at various locations on the day.

There will be evidence that Mr Roche was observed driving a black Skoda Fabia car and Mr Brock was a passenger in this car, which was seen in or around the location of Behans Quarry on Windmillhill in Rathcoole, Co Dublin, she said.

The barrister further stated that the court will hear about "observations" of the two men in or around the N7, where the car was seen.

Ms Lawlor said the evidence will be that the Skoda car was stopped by gardai at 7.24pm that day and both men were arrested. The vehicle was searched and found to contain 18 detonators, 57kg of an explosive substance and thirty-eight 2.5kg rolls of Kemegel, she indicated, adding that the court will also hear ballistic evidence.

The lawyer outlined that the men were detained and questioned over a period of time. The court will also be able to draw inferences from the men’s failure to answer questions in two of these interviews, stated Ms Lawlor.

Finally, Ms Lawlor said the court will be able to conclude at the end of the trial that the accused men are each guilty of the offence charged.

Detective Superintendent Willie Johnson, the officer in charge of the National Surveillance Unit (NSU), gave evidence that if the members of his unit were identified it would be detrimental for future operations and could jeopardise them.

“My application to the court is to request that NSU members be protected from public view to ensure the preservation of the anonymity of the individuals themselves,” said the witness.

Following this, the three-judge court ruled that the public should be excluded from the court when members of the NSU give evidence in the trial and that its members should only be identified by their previously assigned initials.

The trial resumes tomorrow in front of Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, sitting with Judge Patricia Ryan and Judge Ann Ryan. It is expected to last one week.

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