GARDAI have objected to the return of over €40,000 in cash which they confiscated in the course of their investigation post office robbery in Newcastle West last June.
Solicitor John Devane made the application on behalf of Patrick O’Brien and his wife, of Clancy Road, Ennis at a sitting of Newcastle West court. Mr Devane also asked for the return of a laptop, Mr O’Brien’s passport and some items of clothing.
But Inspector Eamon O’Neill objected to the application, saying the items were part of the ongoing investigation into the robbery.
In making his case, Mr Devane said: “This is a matter that arose around July of last year when my clients were arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into an alleged Tiger kidnapping. My clients have at all times, protested their innocence and are seeking the return of money in excess of €40,000 which they can account for.”
Mr O’Brien was also seeking the return of his passport, the solicitor said “Even though that was ordered some time ago he has had to go to get a replacement.”
Inspt O’Neill told the court that last June 28, a substantial six-figure sum was taken at gunpoint during the course of this Tiger kidnapping. “It is the investigating Garda’s belief that the property seized is related.” Several forensic and technical tests had to be carried out, he added.
When questioned, Mr O’Brien exercised his right to silence, the Inspector said but added that Mr O’Brien and his wife were “unable to state the exact amount of cash in their possession” when they were arrested and questioned.
Mr Devane said when the case came up at a previous court, “we ran out of time”. “Mr O’Brien has again come back from London for this matter,” he added. His clients, he stressed, were in dire straits financially and needed the money. “They are suffering extremely badly financially,” he said.
Insp O’Neill said that “if at any stage during the investigation these items are longer needed, we will give an undertaking that they will be returned but they are part of a various serious investigation.”
Judge Mary O’Halloran adjourned the matter until July 10.