Limerick man goes on trial for role in “bagging operation”

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

THE trial resumes later today of a Moyross man who is accused of possessing €145,000 worth of heroin which was found on the outskirts of the city following a surveillance operation by gardai.

THE trial resumes later today of a Moyross man who is accused of possessing €145,000 worth of heroin which was found on the outskirts of the city following a surveillance operation by gardai.

John McCarthy, 41, of 87 Cliona Park, Moyross, has pleaded not guilty to charges of possessing the drug for sale or supply and possessing a quantity of diamorphine in excess of €13,000, which carries a greater sentence if convicted.

McCarthy denies any involvement in the alleged offences in Castle Park, Ballygrennan, on October 15, 2010, near the Clare border.

Limerick Circuit Court has heard that it is the State’s case that he was one of three men involved in the “bagging and division of a significant quantity of heroin.”

Prosecutor John O’Sullivan, BL, said yesterday that the drugs were found in a derelict building known as ‘The Four Walls’ in an open area, which gardai had been monitoring.

Gardai observed three men walking across the field in the direction of the house around 2.30pm, and found a weighing scales, plastic bags and a garden trowel at the scene, as well as a number of parcels wrapped in brown plastic tape. Two men with addresses in Moyross and Ballynanty were arrested, but gardai maintain that the accused managed to escape. When they saw him later that day, they said he had cuts consistent with running through undergrowth.

Mr O’Sullivan told the jury of eight men and four women, who were sworn in yesterday for the first day of the trial, that the State’s case rests on visual identification.

He said gardai had a “clear, unobstructed view of him” and are of the belief that the men were “acting together”.

CCTV footage tracking the movements of the accused at relevant times that day have also been obtained.

Sergeant Gerry Fitzgerald, director of the scenes of crime unit at Mary Street, said he took some 30 photographs in Castle Park on the directions of gardai.

Over 20 gardai, mainly attached to Henry Street station, are due to be called as witnesses in the case, including Chief Superintendent Dave Sheahan, and Superintendent Frank O’Brien.

Forensic scientists and telecommunications experts will also be called during the hearing.

Wearing jeans, a striped shirt and a navy Ralph Lauren jacket, McCarthy did not speak during the hearing yesterday, after he entered his not guilty plea on both charges.

The trial is expected to last two weeks before Judge Carroll Moran.