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Bail denied Gardai shot dog as they arrested owner on suspicion of drug dealing, court hears

Mark Byrne (48) is charged with possession of cannabis with intent to sell or supply at his home at Coburg Place, Dublin 1.

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ARMED gardaí shot dead a pet dog was as they arrested the owner on suspicion of drug dealing and making phone threats to kill his ex partner.

A court heard Mark Byrne's mobile was being seized and his home searched when more than €9,000 worth of cannabis was found and the two-year-old dog was fatally shot.

His defence maintained the garda response to a complaint about a threatening phone message was "particularly heavy handed."

Judge Treasa Kelly refused to grant bail and remanded the accused in custody to appear in court again later this week.

Mr Byrne (48) is charged with possession of cannabis with intent to sell or supply at his home at Coburg Place, Dublin 1. He is also charged with threatening to kill or cause serious harm to his ex-partner.

Detective Garda Brendan Meares told Dublin District Court the accused made no reply to the charges after caution at Coolock Garda Station yesterday.

Objecting to bail, he said it was alleged that over the course of Friday evening and into Saturday morning, February 13, Mr Byrne contacted his former partner by phone, leaving threatening voicemail and WhatsApp voice messages.

His phone was seized for analysis and in the course of the search of his home yesterday, February 14, some 462 grammes of suspected cannabis herb was found. The current valuation was €20 per gramme, Det Gda Meares said.

Mr Byrne’s ex partner told the court she did not think she would be able to walk down the street without looking over her shoulder, and would be afraid to go home if he was released on bail.

She said she did not think she would be able to relax “knowing he is out” and that she would be “at risk.”

Mr Byrne was her ex-partner “from a long time ago” and they had been in a relationship for about a year and a half, she said.

Applying for bail, defence solicitor Yvonne Bambury said the Emergency Response Unit was brought to the accused’s home and armed gardai “shot this man’s dog dead.”

In the course of his arrest, Mr Byrne's two-year-old puppy, his pet, was shot twice and died, Ms Bambury said. It was a “very heavy handed response,” she said.

Det Gda Meares said the incident was the subject of a Garda Síochana Ombudsman Commission investigation.

Ms Bambury said the accused was presumed innocent and would be happy to comply with bail conditions.

If denied bail he could be in custody awaiting trial until 2022 “at the earliest.”

She said the animal was shot after armed gardaí were sent following a complaint about a phone message.

Judge Kelly said she was taking account of the concerns expressed by the alleged victim, his ex-partner.

She refused bail and remanded Mr Byrne in custody to Cloverhill District Court on Thursday, February 18, for the directions of the DPP.

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