DNA links Rathangan man to gun and Ford Focus with secret 'ammunition compartment'

Alison O'Riordan

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Alison O'Riordan

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DNA links Rathangan man to gun and Ford Focus with secret 'ammunition compartment'

DNA links Rathangan man to gun and Ford Focus with secret 'ammunition compartment'

DNA evidence links a Kildare man to both a revolver found inside a blood-stained bag and a Ford Focus car that had a "secret compartment" for ammunition, the Special Criminal Court heard on Monday

Sean Ruth (29), with an address at Blacktrench, Rathangan, Co Kildare was charged with unlawful possession of a .38 Special Calibre “Rossi” revolver at a place unknown within the State between January 1, 2016 and January 24, 2017, both dates inclusive.

Mr Ruth is also charged with unlawful possession of a 9mm calibre round of ammunition on the same occasion.  

The accused stood up when arraigned before the three judges of the non-jury court on Monday and pleaded not guilty when the two counts were put to him. He pleaded guilty when brought before the court again on Tuesday.

In his opening address on Monday, prosecuting counsel Paul Burns SC said that gardai from the National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau searched a premises at Greenogue Business Park, Grants Drive, Rathcoole, Co Dublin on January 24, 2017.

Two men had been seen leaving the premises and driving away in a transit van shortly before this and it was intercepted by gardai, said Mr Burns, adding that both the van and its occupants were later searched.

The barrister further stated that the occupants of the vehicle were Jonathan Harding and another man. When gardai entered the premises at the industrial estate they found a third man, James Walsh.

Jonathan Harding (45) of McNeill Court, Sallins, Co Kildare, and James Walsh (33), with an address at Neilstown Drive, Clondalkin, Dublin 22 both previously pleaded guilty at the Special Criminal Court to the possession of nine revolvers, four pistols, a sub-machine gun, an assault rifle and various ammunition magazines at the unit in Greenogue Business Park on January 24, 2017. 

In January 2018, Harding was sentenced to ten years in prison with one year suspended and Walsh was sentenced to nine years in prison with one year suspended. 

The court was due to hear that gardai secured the warehouse and individuals before they carried out a search of the premises where a considerable number of firearms were found including nine revolvers, four semi-automatic pistols, a submachine gun, an assault rifle as well as 1,235 rounds of assorted ammunition.

“There was quite a substantial arsenal present on the premises,” remarked Mr Burns.

The lawyer said the court would hear that amongst the firearms recovered was a Rossi revolver, which was in good condition and it was found inside a blood-stained plastic bag. This bag was found in the upstairs of the premises and it also contained a Glock automatic pistol and various calibre ammunition.

Counsel said the revolver and the plastic bag were sent to Forensic Science Ireland and swabbed for DNA purposes.

On Tuesday, State Solicitor Rioghnach Corbett told the court that the DPP had directed that Mr Ruth be brought before the court pursuant to Section 49 of the Offences Against the State Act and charged with two counts of possession.

Detective Garda Brian Johnson gave evidence that he met Mr Ruth in the precincts of the court this morning and handed him a copy of the charge sheet, explaining the substance of the charges to him.

A book of evidence was then served on the defendant.

When the registrar put the two new counts to Ruth and asked him how he was pleading, he replied, “Guilty” to both. 

Mr Justice Paul Coffey, presiding, sitting with Judge Gerard Griffin and Judge David McHugh, remanded Ruth in custody until Thursday, when he will be sentenced.