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Man accused of having loaded firearm told gardaí he had travelled to Dublin to look at cars

Edward McDonnell (55) has pleaded not guilty to being in unlawful possession of a semi-automatic pistol with intent to endanger life.

File Image: Criminal Courts of Justice
File Image: Criminal Courts of Justice
Image: RollingNews.ie

A MAN ACCUSED of having a loaded firearm with intent to endanger life said that he had travelled to Dublin to look at cars and told gardaí: “One minute I’m looking at a car, next thing I’m lying on the floor covered in blood.”

The three-judge court has previously heard that a garda discovered a loaded handgun under the passenger seat of an Audi car the day before the defendant was forcibly removed from the vehicle.

Evidence has also been given that a number of items including two baseball hats, two balaclavas and some gloves fell from the accused’s lap upon arrest and a red petrol can as well as a long-handled lighter were found in the car.  

Edward McDonnell (55) of Waterside Apartments, New Ross in Co Wexford, has pleaded not guilty to being in unlawful possession of a semi-automatic pistol namely a Grand Power G9, and having the weapon with intent to endanger life at Lein Park, Harmonstown, Dublin 5 on 14 September 2019.
 
Garda Eoin Byrne told prosecution counsel, Gerardine Small BL, Thursday that he interviewed McDonnell at Raheny Garda Station on 14 September following his arrest.

The defendant told Garda Byrne that he was originally from Crumlin but had moved to Wexford a few months previously to rent an apartment with his daughter. He said he did not work and owned a Toyota RAV4. 
 
McDonnell said he had come to Dublin that day to look at a few cars as his Toyota RAV-4 was “on the way out”.

The accused said he had driven straight from New Ross to Ballyfermot and left his car at Mr Price. McDonnell said he went to look at a dark-coloured Audi car after he left Ballyfermot. “One minute I’m looking at a car, next thing I’m lying on the floor covered in blood,” he told gardai. 
 
McDonnell explained that he had not done anything wrong and was only looking at cars saying: “This is nothing to do with me.” 
 
Gardaí put it to the accused that he was dragged out of an Audi car earlier that day. In reply, McDonnell said that he wanted to get a look at the car and after that he knew nothing. “If you drive down the Kylemore Road, you will see my car,” he said.
 
In his second interview, Detective Garda David McGinley gave evidence that he showed McDonnell the items that were found in the car when he was arrested at Lein Park including two black balaclavas, a red petrol can and a baseball cap. McDonnell told gardaí that the car keys found on him were for his Toyota RAV-4. 
 
McGinley put it to McDonnell during the interview that he was arrested at Lein Park in Harmonstown and he [McDonnell] said he had parked his car on the Kylemore Road.

The detective asked the accused what had happened between this. “I don’t understand what I’m being dragged into,” he replied. The accused said he was supposed to meet a man at Mr Price but the person had not shown up. 
 
Detective Sergeant John Keane previously gave evidence that he approached the driver’s door of the Audi car at Lein Park on 14 September, when McDonnell got into it.

The witness said he had his firearm drawn and identified himself to McDonnell as an armed garda before he removed him from the car and put him on the ground. “There were a number of items on his lap that fell to the ground such as a car key, two dark coloured baseball hats, two sets of gloves and two balaclavas,” he said. 
 
Earlier, Detective Inspector Noel Browne of the National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau told prosecution counsel, Sean Gillane SC, that he directed the search of an Audi vehicle on Lein Park on 12 September. 

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Under cross-examination, Browne agreed with defence counsel Michael Bowman SC, for McDonnell, that the driver’s door to the vehicle was partly ajar so entry could be gained without suspicion. He further agreed that two gardaí were assigned to search the vehicle and a firearm was retrieved.  

Opening the prosecution case on Monday, Gillane told the three-judge court that it will be satisfied that a combination of the circumstances in the case will conclude that the Audi was parked up at Lein Park for the purpose of its deployment in a criminal enterprise and the only use for the firearm was to endanger life. 

The trial continues later today.

About the author:

Alison O'Riordan

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