GARDAI are to return almost €2,000 in cash to two Dublin criminals who were arrested in Limerick earlier this year.
The money, which totalled €1,825, was seized after gardai arrested the two men in April during an investigation into a spate of burglary offences on the northside of the city.
Both men were subsequently charged and brought before Limerick District Court but the charges against them were withdrawn in June.
Making a Police Property Application to return the money to the two men, Sergeant Donal Cronin said gardai no longer require the cash for their investigations.
He said the money had been found in unusual circumstances as it was “concealed under the cowling which covers the gearstick mechanism” of a car.
However, he added gardai are now satisfied the money belongs to the two men.
Sgt Cronin opposed an application - made by solicitor Michael O’Connor - for costs saying the money had been seized lawfully and that gardai had conducted their enquiries as quickly as possible.
Mr O’Connor said his clients, who are in custody in relation to separate matters, are not in a position to pay for legal representation, and that the legal aid scheme does not extend to Police Property Applications.
He added that he had travelled to Mountjoy and Portlaoise Prisons to consult with his clients and that he had travelled from Dublin to Limerick to deal with the application.
Refusing the application (for costs), Judge Eugene O’Kelly noted the two men had not disclosed their interest in the cash when they applied for legal aid when they were initially charged in April.
“Now it’s being refunded to them and is available to them,” he said.
The judge said gardai had an obligation to ensure the cash was returned in accordance in law.
He added there is no provision in law to award costs and he said, such a provision could be detrimental to future garda investigations.
“Gardai cannot be hampered in their investigations by potential applications for costs,” he said.