A JUDGE has sought written submissions in the case of businessman who is seeking the return of more than €70,000 in cash which was seized at his home.
The cash was located in a safe during searches of the property, last September as part of an investigation into suspected money laundering.
The man, whose aged in his 40s, was arrested and questioned at the time and the Director of Public Prosecutions has since directed that he should not face criminal prosecution.
Last month, gardai were granted an order, under section 38 of the Criminal Justice Act, allowing them to retain the money pending an application seeking its forfeiture under proceeds of crime legislation.
During an appeal against the granting of that order, solicitor Sarah Ryan submitted gardai did not have “any lawful authority” to keep the money between the date of the DPP’s directions being issued and the date they formally applied for the court order.
Judge Marian O’Leary was told the DPP’s directions were received by gardai at the end of March but that the application to detain the cash was not made until April 28.
Detective Sergeant John Cleary told the court, gardai were entiled to “reflect on and consider” the DPP’s directions and that further enquiries were carried out during April as the criminal investigation “had not ceased”.
He submitted gardai were entitled to keep the money but added that his application “stands on its own merits” and that he had satisfied himself it was appropriate for him to make such an application.
Being questioned by Ms Ryan, the detective sergeant said he was not involved in the criminal investigation and that he was unaware of correspondence between her and An Garda Siochana.
He also stated he was not aware of the specific enquiries that were carried out by gardai after the DPP’s directions were received in late March.
Ms Ryan submitted the State “does not know what’s it’s doing with the money” and questioned the lack of documentation relating to its seizure.
Judge O’Leary adjourned the matter to later in the week.