Accused gave no reply when asked by gardaí to account for 150kg of explosives in car

A man on trial at the Special Criminal Court gave no reply when asked by gardaí to account for the presence of 150kg of explosives in a car in which he was a front seat passenger, the court has heard.

Accused gave no reply when asked by gardaí to account for 150kg of explosives in car

A man on trial at the Special Criminal Court gave no reply when asked by gardaí to account for the presence of 150kg of explosives in a car in which he was a front seat passenger, the court has heard.

The three-judge court has previously heard that armed gardaí found four bags of explosives in the boot of a black Skoda Fabia car and 18 detonators under the front passenger seat when they stopped the vehicle on the Naas Road.

John Brock (46), with an address at Cushlawn Park, Tallaght, Dublin 24, and John Roche (55), of Bridgefoot Street, Dublin 8, have pleaded not guilty to possession of 57kg of homemade explosives, consisting of ammonium nitrate fuel mix, and 38 2.5kg rolls of Kemegel industrial explosives at Naas Road, Dublin 12, on April 13, 2016.

Detective Sergeant Thomas Power, of the ballistics section at the Garda Technical Bureau, told prosecuting counsel Anne-Marie Lawlor SC that he went to Cathal Brugha Barracks in Rathmines on April 14 and met Commandant Oisin Dawson of the Army Disposal Unit.

Comdt Dawson showed him a number of bags which contained "38 sausage-shaped packets" with Kemegel branding on them, which were all the same size and shape, he said. Det Sgt Power said he placed a sample of this in a container.

Two animal feed bags were also produced and a sample of this was taken, said Det Sgt Power, adding that he was also given 18 discharged detonators.

The witness testified that he went to the Glen of Imaal with Comdt Dawson on April 15, who placed the packets of Kemegel explosives in a hole and detonated them with a small charge. “They all exploded and were destroyed,” he indicated.

Forensic scientist Dr John O’Shaughnessy told the non-jury court that he works in the chemistry section of Forensic Science Ireland (FSI) and analyses explosives. The witness said he examined a number of items given to him by the Special Detective Unit (SDU), which had been recovered from a Skoda car. These samples included a wet and grey-like mixture called Kemegel, which is associated with industrial slurry-type explosives as well as hydrocarbon accelerants.

The purpose of the examination was to determine if there were explosives present in the samples, the court heard. Dr O’Shaughnessy said he was satisfied that the samples examined were all explosives under the Explosive Substances Act 1883.

Sergeant Raymond Tadhg, of the SDU, told prosecution counsel John Byrne BL that he interviewed Mr Brock at Ronanstown Garda Station on April 15. The court heard that in Mr Brock’s subsequent interviews the gardaí invoked Sections 18, 19 and 19(a) of the Criminal Justice Act and told him that a court may draw inferences from his failure or refusal to account for certain matters.

Sergeant Tadhg asked Mr Brock to account for the presence of 18 detonators, 57kg of homemade explosives and 38 2.5kg rolls of Kemegel industrial explosives in a car, which he was a front-seat passenger in on April 13. Mr Brock gave no reply.

Mr Brock was also asked to account for his presence at Behan's Quarry on Windmillhill in Rathcoole, Co Dublin at 6.59pm on April 13. The accused man again gave no reply. Following this, he declined to sign the memorandum of interview.

Ms Lawlor told Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, sitting with Judge Patricia Ryan and Judge Ann Ryan, that the prosecution had closed its case. The trial continues tomorrow.

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