A Ballina man who had €2,400 cash seized by gardai as part of a criminal investigation into a robbery where €50,000 in cash was stolen in 2014 was in court this week looking to have the cash returned to him. Detective Garda Leo Heaney told the court in Ballina that on March 10 2014 the money was seized by Gardai at the man's home in Ballina following a search of his home on foot of a bench warrant issued by the court.
Since then the money has been in the possession of the gardai. Solicitor for the man looking to get the money returned, Mr Peter Loftus, told the court that bar being questioned on the day and his client turning up at the Garda station the next day voluntarily, his client had not been charged or even questioned under caution about the the incident. He told the court that his client had explained to gardai on the day the money was seized that he had made the money buying and selling cars.
Det Garda Heaney told the court that a break in occurred in the Bonniconlon area on March 1, 2014 where €50,000 in €50 notes was stolen from a house. He said the money was stolen from a safe in the house and the injured party had been a friend of the man who was looking for the return of the €2,400 at the time. CCTV from the house showed two men break in and go directly to where the safe was hidden, and take the money, and the whole incident took around 40 seconds. Det Garda Heaney also said that the injured party had told them the only person he told about the safe and the cash was the man looking for the €2,400 to be returned to him.
Mr Loftus put it to Det Garda Heaney that it was not his client who committed the break in, to which Det Garda Heaney agreed, and said that the two suspects were known to gardai, but gardai had not been able to speak to the suspects as one of the suspects left the jurisdiction after the incident and subsequent attempts to speak to him when he returned failed.
Mr Loftus asked if the DNA of the injured party had been tested against the cash that was taken from his client, to which Det Garda Heaney replied he had a sample taken from the injured party and it was not tested. Mr Loftus also put it to the court that all the gardai had was a lot of circumstantial evidence in relation to his client and that he had given a full breakdown of his whereabouts on the day of the break in to the gardai when asked.
Judge Mary Devins adjourned the application until June 14 for the DNA to be tested.