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Dublin man appears in court charged with possession of several semi-automatic pistols

CourtsBy Sunday World
File image of a 9mm Makarov (Via Andrey Mironov/Wikicommons)
File image of a 9mm Makarov (Via Andrey Mironov/Wikicommons)

The Special Criminal Court trial of a Dublin man accused of possession of firearms and ammunition has heard evidence that during a garda interview the man refused to account for the presence of those items in his home.

Previously, the court heard evidence that the firearms and ammunition were found during a Special Detective Unit search of the accused man's home in East Wall, Dublin. 

Pierce Moran (59) of Church Road, East Wall, Dublin 3, is charged with the unlawful possession of various semi-automatic pistols, including an 8mm Knall calibre Valtro model AP29, a 9mm short calibre CZ model 83, a 9mm calibre Makarov PM and a 9mm short calibre Baikal model IZH79-8, as well as a silencer suitable for use with the Makarov pistol and a 12-gauge Beretta model A.300 semi-automatic, sawn-off shotgun at Church Road, East Wall, Dublin 3 on November 15, 2014. 

Mr Moran is also charged with the possession of various firearm magazines, suitable for use in the pistols from the first charge, at the same address on the same date.

Additionally, he is charged with the possession of assorted ammunition, also at the same address and on the same date. 

The court entered on Mr Moran's behalf pleas of not guilty for each of the three charges on the indictment. 

Evidence regarding a garda interview with the accused man, heard yesterday during a voir dire, a trial within a trial to determine the admissibility of evidence, was today ruled admissible by the court's three judges. 

Yesterday, Detective Garda Brian Power told prosecuting counsel Vincent Heneghan BL that he interviewed Mr Moran at Mountjoy garda station on November 17th, 2014.

The court heard that during a sixth interview with Mr Moran, the detective invoked Section 18 of the Criminal Justice Act and told the accused man that a court may draw inferences from his failure to account for certain matters. 

The detective asked Mr Moran if he could account for the presence of the firearms and ammunition at the East Wall premises, the court heard, and Mr Moran replied: "On the advice of my solicitor, I won't be answering at this time."

The prosecution concluded its case today.

Afterward, Hugh Hartnett SC, for Mr Moran, asked the court for a direction in relation to the three counts on the indictment. 

Mr Hartnett's submission was that the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Moran had knowledge and control of the firearms and ammunition, the court heard.  

He said that Mr Moran's premises was a two-bedroom flat and that no evidence had been tendered in relation to the second bedroom. He said there was no evidence that the bedroom in which some of the firearms were found was Mr Moran's bedroom. 

Mr Hartnett added that there are no fingerprints to associate the accused with any of the firearms.

In reply, Mr Heneghan said that during the search there was nobody else in the flat and that the items found in the bedroom were not concealed. 

The court has previously heard evidence that detectives found four firearms inside a Dunnes Stores bag beside a bed. 

There is "sufficient evidence" to suggest Mr Moran had control of the items, Mr Heneghan added. 

Mr Justice Paul Butler, presiding with Judge Alison Lindsay and Judge Flann Brennan, said the court will need some time to consider the barristers' submissions.

The trial resumes next Wednesday, April 27. 

Daniel Hickey