herald

Tuesday 19 September 2017

Child (8) found pipe bomb and handed it to his grandparents

Gardai and members of the Defence Forces dealing with the bomb scare at St Aidan’s Park in Marino
Gardai and members of the Defence Forces dealing with the bomb scare at St Aidan’s Park in Marino

A pipe bomb left under a prison officer's car in the driveway of a Dublin house was picked up by an eight-year-old - who unwittingly took it inside and gave it to his grandparents, a court has been told.

The child's elderly grandparents did not realise what it was and handed it over to another person, who tried to open it. They fled the house when ball bearings began to fall out.

Mark O'Shea (31) is facing trial for possession of explosives after Dublin District Court heard he allegedly left the bomb, which was later discovered by the child when the householder moved the car without noticing it.

Minor

The DPP directed that the case could be dealt with in the district court as a "minor offence" but Judge Alan Mitchell refused jurisdiction.

He said he "did not know how" the DPP could have considered it a minor offence.

Mr O' Shea, of no fixed address but originally from Co Cork, is charged with possession of explosives at St Aidan's Park, Marino, on June 11.

Garda Sergeant Liam Donoghue told the court the DPP had directed summary disposal of the case in the district court on a guilty plea only.

Outlining the case, he said it was alleged the accused walked into the driveway of the house with a pipe bomb in a bag and left it under a car.

The owner moved the car at 11am, not realising the pipe bomb was there. The court heard the child picked the bomb up without realising what it was. It was taken into the house and given to the child's grandparents, who are in their 70s, the court heard.

The grandparents did not know what it was either and gave it to another adult, who tried to open it.

Ball bearings began to fall out of the object and at that point the house was abandoned, Sgt Donoghue said.

"I don't know how the director considered it was a matter which could be a minor offence," Judge Mitchell said.

Serious

"There is no earthly way I would consider it a minor offence. It was a serious offence in my view."

He said it "definitely" did not warrant being dealt with in the district court, even on a guilty plea.

The maximum sentence at this level was one year, he added.

The accused consented to a remand in custody for two weeks for the preparation of a book of evidence, his solicitor John Wood said.

The case was adjourned to September 14. The judge said it was unlikely that the book would be ready and the accused consented to appearing via video-link on the next date.

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