The Criminal Courts of Justice, Dublin
A LIMERICK man accused of money laundering for an organised crime gang will be granted bail by the Special Criminal Court, despite the objections of gardai, if a "legitimate" person can come up with a €10k surety for him.
At a hearing this Tuesday, gardaí objected to a bail application made on behalf of Dermot McManus, who is charged with handling almost €50,000 in crime cash, possessing a stolen vehicle and handling another vehicle.
Mr McManus, aged 51, and co-accused Terese Halpin, aged 49, were both charged last week after gardaí executed a warrant at their home address at Keating Park, Killalee, Limerick.
Gardaí had described the arrests, made as part of 'Operation Coronation', as a "significant development" in an ongoing investigation targeting the activities of an organised crime group based in Limerick.
Mr McManus is charged with handling sums of cash worth €28,550 and £17,240 (€20,600), knowing or believing or being reckless as to whether it was the proceeds of criminal conduct on June 17, 2020, and allowing an account at the Limerick and District Credit Union to be used for the purposes of handling the proceeds of crime on the same date.
He is further charged with possession of a stolen blue Ford Transit van with a 161-L registration between August 10, 2019 and June 12, 2020; and with handling a white 151-C Mercedes Sprinter between June 2 , 2020 and May 23, 2021.
Ms Halpin is charged with possession of the same cash sums on June 17, 2020, and with allowing a Permanent TSB account to be used for handling the proceeds of crime between January 17, 2019 and June 10, 2020.
Objecting to bail at the non-jury court, Detective Garda John Sheahan told Fiona Murphy SC, prosecuting, that he believed Mr McManus to be a flight risk with access to money and that the accused would commit offences if granted bail.
The detective added that Mr McManus has familial links in England and that he regularly travels there.
Det Garda Sheahan said that after a search warrant was obtained for Keating Park in June 2020, €28,550 was found in socks on top of a wardrobe while £17,240 was discovered in a jacket pocket.
He added that gardaí also investigated "suspicious" financial transactions by Mr McManus at the credit union.
Regarding the Ford Transit, the detective said Mr McManus had sold the vehicle for €10,000 but it had never been registered in his name.
The detective said Mr McManus told gardaí he had bought the Mercedes Sprinter in Northern Ireland but that the accused's only regular income was a disability payment and that he had never filed a revenue return or paid income tax.
Barrister Pat Barriscale BL, defending, said his client had 19 months between his first arrest and being charged and had neither absconded nor offended in that time.
He said Mr McManus regularly travelled to England to see his brother, who is severely ill, and submitted that his client was not a flight risk.
Mr Barriscale said his client had been a market trader who dealt in bed linen and that he had strong family ties to Limerick, which included his wife, two children and his immediate and extended family.
The barrister said a lodgement of €35,000 to his client's account, referred to by Detective Garda Sheahan, was a payment of a personal injury claim after Mr McManus was injured in a road traffic collision.
Presiding judge Mr Justice Tony Hunt said he would grant bail if a "headline figure" of a €10,000 surety could be found from "a legitimate person".
The judge said that concerns about Mr McManus being both a flight risk and concerns about the accused committing an offence while on bail could be met by the surety, in addition to strict bail conditions.
Mr Justice Hunt said that if the surety could be found, Mr McManus was to sign on daily at a Limerick garda station and was not to associate with persons named in the court.
The judge remanded Mr McManus in custody with consent to bail and adjourned the matter with liberty for it to be re-entered before the court for surety approval.
Ms Halpin was granted bail last week when she entered into a bond and undertook to surrender her passport, provide gardaí with her phone number, and sign on from Monday to Friday at a local garda station.
She is to appear before the Special Criminal Court in Dublin again on Friday February 18, at 10.30am.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.