8 men charged with violent disorder, extortion and threats to kill

EIGHT Limerick men are to face charges including extortion and threats to kill at the non-jury Special Criminal Court.

In one of the first cases since the introduction of new legislation a year ago, the DPP yesterday applied at Limerick District Court to have the eight returned for trial at the three-judge court.

There was a strong visible armed Garda presence at the courthouse for yesterday’s hearing, when the men were remanded in custody.

State solicitor Michael Murray applied to have the eight, who were dealt with separately, handcuffed in court.

Judge Tom O’Donnell said he reluctantly had to accede to that request due to the behaviour of some of the eight when they appeared on a video link from Limerick prison to Limerick District Court on Tuesday last.

Ger Dundon, aged 24, of Hyde Avenue, Ballinacurra Weston, is charged with committing violent disorder at Sarsfield Avenue, Garryowen, on February 17 last.

Brothers, Christopher McCormack, aged 27, of McNamara Terrace, Wolfe Tone Street, and David McCormack, aged 25, of Crecora Avenue, Ballinacurra Weston, are charged with committing violent disorder at Sarsfield Avenue, Garryowen, on the same date.

Gareth Collins Keogh, aged 27, of Hyde Avenue, Ballinacurra Weston, and his father Jimmy Collins, aged 47, of Crecora Avenue, are charged with demanding money with menaces from Mark Heffernan at John Carew Park on unspecified dates between January 29, 2009, and February 29, 2009.

The father and son are also charged with threatening to kill or cause serious harm to Mark Heffernan on October 17, 2009, at the Milk Market, and with demanding money with menaces on the same date.

Gareth Collins Keogh is also charged with committing violent disorder at Sarsfield Avenue, Garryowen on February 17 last.

Christopher McCarthy, aged 27, of Crecora Avenue, is charged with threatening to kill or cause serious harm to Mark Heffernan at the Milk Market, and with demanding money with menaces on the same date.

Michael Bridgeman, aged 51, of Glenview, Ballyneety, Co Limerick, is charged with threatening to kill or cause serious harm to Mark Heffernan at John Carew Park on an unspecified date between January 29, 2009, and February 12, 2010, and with demanding money with menaces.

Patrick Pickford, aged 19, of Talbot Avenue, Prospect, is charged with demanding money with menaces.

Books of evidence were handed to each of the accused at yesterday’s hearing by Det Sgt Brian Sugrue.

Additional charges were brought yesterday against three of the men.

New charges of demanding money with menaces were brought against Jimmy Collins and Garret Collins Keogh. Christopher McCarthy was further charged with demanded money with menaces from Mark Heffernan at John Carew Park between September 1, 2008, and October 25, 2008.

Det Garda Senan O’Sullivan, who put the new charges to all three, said McCarthy made no reply when charged.

He said when he put the new charge to Jimmy Collins he replied: “Fuck off, you stitch-up c***... Fuck... yourself.”

Garret Collins Keogh replied: “Fuck off, scumbag bastard.”

Judge O’Donnell said that as all eight were in custody, he would have thought their cases will be brought quickly before the Special Criminal Court.

Christopher McCormack pleaded guilty to a charge of having a mobile phone at Limerick prison on June 1, 2009.

Judge O’Donnell imposed a four-month jail sentence for this offence, backdated to April 25, when McCormack and the seven others were arrested.

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