'Trial within a trial' begins for Waterford man
on 13/02/2013 14:38:46
Presiding judge Mr Justice Paul Butler said that a legal issue raised at the outset of the trial of 43-year-old Joseph Mooney deserved more time for consideration and the Special Criminal Court would put the matter back until tomorrow.
Mr Mooney, of Cullinagh, Kilmeaden, has denied the unlawful possession of three mortar launch tubes at his home on September 22nd, 2011.
Opening the prosecution case, Mr Garnet Orange BL said that as a result of an ongoing garda investigation into dissident republican activity and the possession of explosive substances in the Waterford area, Detective Superintendent Dominic Hayes issued search warrants for the home of Mooney at Cullinagh and the Solas Centre at Ferrybank in Waterford City, which is a retraining centre.
He said that gardaí who went to Mooney's home found it unoccupied and they then went to the Solas Centre where they arrested Mooney.
During a search of a shed which was on land at the back of Mooney's house but which was not attached to the house, gardaí found three tubes which were each a metre high.
Mr Orange said the court would hear evidence from a garda forensic expert that in his opinion the tubes were improvised mortar launch tubes.
Counsel said that Mooney was interviewed after his arrest and he admitted ownership of the three tubes but said that were going to be used as bollards to light up his driveway.
Mr Orange said the prosecution accepted that the search warrants had been issued under Section 29 of the Offences Against the State Act, which the Supreme Court had ruled was unconstitutional.
However, he said that the prosecution is not relying on anything found in the house and was only relying on the items found in the shed.
After the prosecution opening, defence counsel Ms Aileen Donnelly SC told the court that the defence was challenging the admissibility of the search warrants and the court began hearing evidence in a "trial within a trial" to decide on the legal issues.