Sunday, 5 Feb 2023

Man charged with firearm offence over major security incident at family law court

A MAN has been charged with possessing an imitation firearm in connection with a major security alert at a family law court in Dublin.

The Phoenix House courts building at Smithfield in Dublin, where Judge Susan Ryan of the Circuit Court was presiding, was evacuated and a major security operation took place at around 11.30am on December 20 last.

Armed gardai and a bomb disposal team were called in to deal with an incident which was resolved peacefully.

A man in his mid-forties was arrested and taken to the Bridewell Garda station.

He appeared at Dublin District Court two days later charged with the false imprisonment of two women and one count of threatening to kill and cause serious harm.

He was refused bail and cannot be named for legal reasons.

The defendant made his third court appearance when he appeared at Cloverhill District Court today.

Judge Victor Blake heard that an additional charge has been brought.

The man, dressed in a grey tracksuit, stood silently throughout the hearing and has not indicated how he will plead.

Det Garda Shane Connolly told Judge Blake the defendant “made no reply” when he was charged at the court today.

The additional charge is under the Firearms Act for unlawful possession of an imitation gun in connection with the incident.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has directed that he is to face trial on indictment on all the charges, Det Garda Connolly said.

This means his case is to be sent forward for trial before a judge and jury at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Defence counsel Sharon Rossiter (instructed by solicitor Brian Keenan) told Judge Blake her client was not making a bail application.

Judge Blake acceded to her request to grant legal aid to her client after noting there was no Garda objection and no change in the defendant’s circumstances.

Judge Blake noted the man consented to appearing via video-link at his next hearing at the same court on February 1 when the case will be listed for mention.

A book of evidence has to be completed by the DPP before he can be returned for trial.

Airport-style scanning equipment has since been installed and security guards are now stationed at the Phoenix House courts.

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