Limerick gardai still holding seized cars

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

GARDAI have been granted permission to continue holding a number of vehicles which were seized earlier this year during separate criminal investigations.

GARDAI have been granted permission to continue holding a number of vehicles which were seized earlier this year during separate criminal investigations.

The estranged wife of a man who is charged in connection with an aggravated burglary in Pallasgreen in April year sought the return of her car saying she needs it to bring her children to school and medical appointments.

Opposing the Police Property Application, Insp Seamus Ruane, Henry Street, said the vehicle was seized as part of an “ongoing and protracted” investigation.

“The car is being detained as evidence and the investigation is continuing,” he said adding that several arrests were made in recent weeks in Dublin and in Tipperary.

Solicitor Ted McCarthy, representing the owner of the car, said his client was concerned that gardai would “retain the vehicle almost infinitum” and he submitted that all of the necessary forensic examinations have been completed.

Insp Ruane agreed it is “unlikely” the car will be produced as an exhibit during any future trial and he told the court it will be returned to the owner when it is no longer required.

Judge Eugene O’Kelly said he understood the difficulty but he said he had no option but to refuse the application.

Meanwhile, the judge refused a separate application made by the owner of a jeep, which was seized in September as part of an investigation into “alleged fraudulent activities”.

Insp Ruane said a second vehicle was being held by gardai as part of the same investigation, which is continuing.

The man, who insisted his jeep had not been used in any crime, said gardai could have access to the vehicle “at any time” if it was returned to him. “What is the point to holding it?” he asked.

Judge O’Kelly said he “cannot embark” on an inquiry into the circumstances of the seizure of the vehicle and he said it would be “extraordinary” it was was being “held maliciously” by gardai.