The Special Criminal Court has today heard of a dramatic struggle between three gardaí and a gangland criminal armed with a machine gun, which ended up in a bathtub after the gun went off while a primed grenade lay on the floor.
The non-jury court heard the evidence during the sentencing of Derek Devoy (37), from Balbutcher Lane, Poppintree, Ballymun, who had pleaded guilty to possessing a Makarov submachine gun with intent to endanger life, or cause serious injury at Crannogue Road, Ballymun, Dublin 11 on March 11, 2019.
Devoy also pleaded guilty to two charges under Section 19 of the Public Order Act for assaulting a garda and a garda sergeant at Crannogue Road on the same date.
Devoy has also pleaded guilty to possessing an explosive substance, to wit a Yugoslavian M75 hand grenade with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury to property on the same occasion and to 11 rounds of 9mm ammunition.
Detective Sergeant Stephen O'Keeffe told prosecuting barrister Mr Michael Bowman SC that at around 4.35pm on the day three gardaí chased Devoy from Doon Court, where he was observed by a member of the public with the letting off two rounds from the Makarov sub-machinegun.
Bullet passed garda's eyeline
The chase ended up in the bathroom extension of a separate family's house on Crannogue Road when gardaí found Devoy sitting on the toilet with the gun. Mr Sean Gillane SC said that his client was under four death threats at the time and was not behaving rationally.
The three gardaí were on a break and had no handcuffs, pepper spray or personal protection equipment when they found Devoy and ordered him to lower the weapon. Det Sgt O'Keefe said gardaí jumped on Devoy "in a split second" but all three ended up in the bathtub before he could be restrained.
A Garda narrowly avoided being shot as the gun went off with the bullet passing his eye-line, said Mr Bowman.
After restraining Devoy, all three gardaí observed a grenade on the ground with the pin out. The grenade, which did not go off, was later detonated in a controlled explosion by army experts at the scene, said Mr Bowman.
Devoy was taken to Ballymun Garda Station where he behaved violently and his clothes had to be cut from him, said Det Sgt O'Keeffe.
In all, five casings were recovered from the bathroom along with two from Doon Court with 11 remaining in the machine gun.
Mr Sean Gillane SC told presiding judge Mr Justice Tony Hunt that his client was one of four children but the only one left alive.
Devoy apologised in court to the three gardaí, to the family of the house at Crannogue Road and to the people of Ballymun.
Mr Justice Hunt adjourned the case to 23 July.