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Suspects in gun case 'wearing wigs', court told

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Trinity College graduate Ursula Shannon. Photo: Collins courts

Trinity College graduate Ursula Shannon. Photo: Collins courts

Trinity College graduate Ursula Shannon. Photo: Collins courts

A TRINITY College graduate and two men on trial charged with the possession of firearms were wearing wigs and disguises when they were intercepted by armed gardai, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

Ursula Shannon (30), who is a Trinity College graduate and prominent member of socialist republican group Eirigi, and her co-accused John McGreal (37) and Colin Brady (24) have pleaded not guilty to the possession of two handguns and 32 rounds of ammunition at Tullybeg, Rahan, Co Offaly on November 27, 2012.

They each pleaded not guilty to the unlawful possession of one 9mm parabellum calibre Taurus PT92 semi-automatic pistol, one magazine suitable for use with the pistol, one 9mm parabellum calibre Walther P5 semi-automatic pistol and one ZGJY branded combined stungun and flashlight.

STOLEN

They also pleaded not guilty to the possession of 25 rounds of 9mm ammunition and seven rounds of 9mm ammunition.

Defence lawyers told the the non-jury court that Brady, of Ashgrove, Baskin Lane, Kinsealy; McGreal, of Thornchase, Palmer Road, Rush, and Shannon, of Inglewood Crescent, Clonsilla, were not challenging any of the evidence by way of cross-examination or by way of submissions in the case.

John Troy (33), a fourth co-accused of Dunard Avenue, Cabra, pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of one 9mm parabellum calibre Taurus PT92 semi-automatic pistol, one magazine suitable for use with the pistol, one 9mm parabellum calibre Walther P5 semi-automatic pistol and one ZGJY branded combined stungun and flashlight. Presiding judge Mr Justice Paul Butler remanded Troy on continuing bail until February 18 for sentencing.

Opening the prosecution case, Shane Costelloe BL told the court that on the date in question gardai had information that a stolen vehicle would be used for an operation by dissident republicans for a theft at a property in Co Offaly.

He said that at 6.45pm a white Opel van with false number plates arrived outside a residential premises which also doubled as a business for a licensed firearm and sporting goods seller. He said once the van arrived the order was given to surround the vehicle and the four occupants were arrested.

Counsel said that a search of the vehicle revealed the two handguns and the stungun along with the ammunition, cable ties, wigs and disguises.

CONCEAL

Mr Costelloe told the court that all four persons had taken steps to conceal their physical appearance, and two of the occupants were wearing wigs.

He told the court a piece of paper with jobs to be done when the occupants arrived at the scene was also found in the van.

Mr Costelloe said the court would be invited to infer that the people in the van were there to rob the shop and steal the firearms on the premises.

Counsel said the occupants were brought to garda stations for interview where Sections 18, 19 and 19A of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 as amended by the Criminal Justice Act 2007 were invoked.

The trial continues.

hnews@herald.ie


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