Gardaí 'acted on bomb information when arresting man'

Armed detectives were acting on information that bomb-making equipment was found during a raid on a Clondalkin apartment when they arrested a young Dublin man in a car park next to the complex, a court has heard today.

Armed detectives were acting on information that bomb-making equipment was found during a raid on a Clondalkin apartment when they arrested a young Dublin man in a car park next to the complex, a court has heard today.

The Special Criminal Court was hearing evidence on the third day of a trial concerning three young men accused of unlawfully possessing explosive materials at an apartment in The Crescent, Park West Pointe, Clondalkin, Dublin 22 on September 9, 2008.

Gareth Byrne (aged 27) of Park Crescent, Kimmage, Dublin 12, Cormac Fitzpatrick (aged 23) of Cathedral Walk, Monaghan, Co Monaghan and Terry McConnell (aged 28) of Tullymore Gardens, Andersontown, Belfast have all pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Hundreds of grams of propellant powder, pieces of steel piping, bulbs, batteries, several travel alarm clocks and duct tape were among the items seized during the raid.

Detective Sergeant Rory Corcoran, Special Branch, told the three-judge, non-jury court today that he approached a dark coloured Opel Vetra in a car park, adjacent to the apartment complex, in the early hours of September 9, 2008.

He said he saw a man sitting in the driver’s seat whom he identified as Gareth Byrne.

Detective Sergeant Corcoran said he identified himself as a garda but was not wearing his official garda jacket. He said he asked Mr Byrne to step out of the car and informed him that he wished to search him.

Detective Sergeant Corcoran told the court he noticed a “walkie talkie radio” in the foot-well of the car.

He said he asked Mr Byrne to lie face down on the ground and called for assistance.

Detective Garda Jayne Heaney and Detective Garda Gerald Manning arrived to the scene a short time later and Mr Byrne was arrested.

Detective Sergeant Corcoran said he was acting on information that bomb-making paraphernalia was found and that four suspects were arrested during the raid on the apartment when he approached Mr Byrne.

Under cross-examination from Jonathan Kilfeather SC, defence counsel for Mr Byrne, he said he couldn’t recall “exactly who” had told him this.

Detective Sergeant Corcoran said he was not aware that exhibits indicated the walkie talkie had been found in the car’s glove box.

Mr Kilfeather SC, put it to him that his client had been “man handled”, and that photographs taken of Mr Byrne while he was in custody, indicated cuts and marks on his face.

Detective Sergeant Corcoran said he had instructed Mr Byrne to lie down on the ground and that this request was complied with. He said he had carried out a brief search of Mr Byrne.

The court also heard evidence today from Detective Sergeant James Broe who was working alongside Detective Sergeant Corcoran on the night in question.

He told the court he went to the assistance of his colleague after he heard him “challenge an individual”. He said he knew this person to be Gareth Byrne, and that Mr Byrne was directed to lie on the ground and remain there.

Detective Sergeant Broe said he also observed a walkie talkie on the floor of the car. But he said he had “serious concerns” about the safety of the vehicle and did not conduct a full search for fear of contaminating evidence.

The trial resumes on Tuesday next.

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