Special Criminal Court
A landlord's nephew found an assault rifle and a large amount of drugs in the base of a bed whilst “clearing out” his uncle's house, just days after gardai had carried out a search of the premises, the Special Criminal Court has heard.
Michael Brady ,54, with an address at Blackrock, Co Dublin is charged with possessing €1.5 million worth of cocaine, €1.26 million worth of heroin, an assault rife and more than 180 rounds of ammunition at a property at Sallins Bridge, in Sallins, Co Kildare on January 24, 2017.
He has pleaded not guilty to all nine counts on the indictment.
It is the State's case that forensic evidence links Michael Brady to some of the items found at Sallins Bridge and to the address itself.
The landlord, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told prosecution counsel Fiona Murphy SC that he entered into a tenancy agreement with Declan Brady for the house at Sallins Bridge in February 2015.
Last month Declan Brady ,52, a brother of the accused, pleaded guilty to possessing 15 firearms and more than 4,000 rounds of ammunition at Greenogue Business Park, Rathcoole, Co Dublin on January 24, 2017. He is awaiting sentence.
The owner of the property said he was informed by neighbours in early 2016 that Declan Brady had not been around Sallins Bridge much and another man called Michael Brady was living there.
The owner of Sallins Bridge said he needed access to his house in December 2016 in order to get it valued and he had met the accused Michael Brady on this occasion.
“I found the Bradys to be really nice people including Michael and Declan so I just want to mention that,” he added.
The witness said he got a phone call from a neighbour on January 24, 2017 telling him that the gardai had been at his home. The court has previously heard that two rounds of ammunition were found by gardai at the back of a chair in the dining room of Sallins Bridge on January 24.
The landlord said he went to Sallins Bridge on January 25 to see what maintenance work needed to be carried out and returned again with his sister and nephew on January 28 “to clear out stuff”.
“I felt I needed some help and support as I was petrified going in by myself,” he explained, adding that they began by “clearing out” the kitchen and living room.
The witness said that his nephew went downstairs at one stage to “clean out” the box bedroom before he called them in. The man said the bed was on its side against the wall when he went into the bedroom and there was a cardboard box on the ground. The man agreed with Ms Murphy that he knew by looking at the box and the way the items were wrapped that there were drugs in it. His nephew showed him a rifle which was wrapped in a red tablecloth as well as five magazines.
The homeowner said he rang Detective Garda Maria O’Hara and informed her what had happened.
Under cross examination by Dominic McGinn SC, defending, the witness agreed that Michael Brady had told him previously that he was at Sallins Bridge to help with the dogs. The homeowner agreed that he did not have a key for the house but he rarely needed access as the Brady's were “very good tenants”.
The landlord told Mr McGinn that Declan Brady and his son had signed the tenancy agreement. The man further agreed with the defence that he did not have permission from the Brady's to be at Sallins Bridge on January 25 and 28 and had gained access from a neighbour who had a key to his property.
The nephew of the previous witness told the prosecution that his uncle owned Sallins Bridge and he had gone there with his mum on January 28. The witness said he had “cleared-out” a small bedroom in the house and tried to lift the bed in order to make more room but it wouldn't lift. He then moved the couch up a bit as he thought it was preventing him from moving the bed, which he knew to be light. However, as he turned the bed on its side, a cardboard box fell out from underneath it, he said.
The witness agreed with Ms Murphy that he could see “bricks”, which were wrapped in clingfilm and he presumed these were drugs. He called his mother and uncle and showed them the cardboard box when they came into the bedroom, he said.
The man agreed with the prosecution that he had seen a red tablecloth in the box, lifted it out and saw there was a rifle in it. There were also “magazines” in a pillow case inside the box, he added.
The witness further agreed that the brown packets were covered in brown tape inside a shoe box and had “King” written on them.
Today’s evidence was heard in voir dire – or a ‘trial wthin a trial’ – to assist the judges determine the lawfulness of the search conducted by gardai on January 28.
Mr Justice Paul Coffey, presiding, sitting with Judge Gerard Griffin and Judge David McHugh, will give their ruling tomorrow morning.