More than 1,000 bullets and a loaded pistol found in Mansfield house, court hears

Patrick James (PJ) Mansfield (left) and Jim Mansfield Jnr
Patrick James (PJ) Mansfield (left) and Jim Mansfield Jnr

Gardai found more than a thousand bullets and a loaded pistol while searching of the home of a son of late billionaire hotel boss Jim Mansfield, a court heard.

UPDATE (20:23)

Judge Ann Ryan has halted the trial of Jim Mansfield's son on ammunition charges, ruling that the case is too serious to be dealt with at district court level.

Judge Ryan adjourned proceedings for the preparation of a book of evidence.

Mr Mansfield will instead be sent for trial by jury to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court when the book is ready.

Meanwhile, Mr Mansfield's brother Jim Mansfield Junior had his case adjourned for mention on the same date. He is facing a similar charge arising from a separate garda search but no evidence has been heard yet.

Patrick James (PJ) Mansfield answered the door to a garda attached to the Criminal Assets Bureau before the early morning search was carried out.

Gardai pulled a picture back from a wall above the bed in the master bedroom and found a Walther pistol loaded with one bullet, the court was told.

The trial of PJ Mansfield on an ammunition charge began at Dublin District Court today.

His brother Jim Mansfield Jr had a similar charge against him adjourned after Judge Ann Ryan said there would not be time to hear both cases in one day.

PJ Mansfield (38) is accused of possession of 1,252 rounds of Walther ammunition without a firearms licence at his former home at Coldwater Lakes in Saggart on January 29, 2015.

His brother Jim Mansfield Jr (49) is charged with having 180 rounds of .22 Walther ammunition without a firearms licence at his home at Tassaggart House in Saggart on the same date.

They are both pleading not guilty to the charges.

The accused are sons of Jim Mansfield Snr, who passed away in January 2014.

He was the businessman behind the Citywest Hotel, Weston Airport and a number of other high-profile ventures. Several of these other businesses collapsed in the recession.

Giving evidence in PJ Mansfield’s case, Detective Sergeant Brendan Flanagan who was attached to the Criminal Assets Bureau, said his involvement was to assist the investigation team.

A warrant was issued at the District Court and he went to PJ Mansfield’s address at around 7am. There was a large gate at the driveway which he scaled before ringing the front doorbell, he said.

The front door was opened by the accused and Det Sgt Flanagan identified himself and explained his purpose for being there.

There were three other gardai and a Revenue officer present.

Det Sgt Flanagan said he had a warrant to search the premises, showed Mr Mansfield the original and gave him a copy.

The accused told him his girlfriend was upstairs in bed at the time and Mr Mansfield agreed that he and his girlfriend would come to the kitchen while the search was being carried out.

It was brought to Det Sgt Flanagan’s attention that ammunition had been found at various locations.

Cross-examined by Tony McGillicuddy BL, for the defence, Det Sgt Flanagan confirmed that quantities of ammunition had been found in a gun safe, a garage, and a wardrobe. A fourth quantity of ammunition was found along with a Walther pistol. The pistol was licenced to Mr Mansfield.

This pistol contained ammunition and it was removed and remained safe.

Earlier, Judge Ryan said there was no time between now and Christmas that she could hear the rest of a part-heard case.

She would not be able to resume the hearing until next May, she said.

“I think to part-hear it now and then take it up again in several months time would not be fair to any of the parties before the court,” she said.

Mr McGillicuddy said there was a video of the garda search that had been disclosed which he needed to view. However, he said this would not take long and he still wished to go ahead with the hearing of PJ Mansfield’s trial as they were “two separate cases.”

Garrett McCormack BL, for the prosecution, said he would not be relying on the video, but acknowledged that the defence was entitled to time to view it.

The DPP wished to deal with PJ Mansfield’s case today, he said. A number of matters had been agreed between the prosecution and the defence and the number of witnesses required had been reduced to five or six.

Mr McCormack said he was confident the case against PJ Mansfield would conclude today.

The judge adjourned the case against Jim Mansfield Jnr to a date in January, for mention, to set a new trial date.

Andrew Phelan