herald

Monday 25 September 2017

Face of mum-of-one Nikita (20), charged over gun and ammo discovery on train

Gardai arrested Nikita outside Terminal 1 at Dublin Airport
Gardai arrested Nikita outside Terminal 1 at Dublin Airport

This is the young Dublin mother who is charged with unlawful possession of a semi-automatic pistol and faces 14 years behind bars if convicted of the offence.

Yesterday afternoon, a judge lifted the gagging order that had granted anonymity to Nikita Murtagh, who was charged in connection with the possession of a loaded gun on a Dublin to Belfast train.

The 20-year-old mum-of-one, from Mariners Port, Sheriff Street, Dublin 1, is charged with unlawful possession of a CZ model 70 semi-automatic pistol, two rounds of 7.65 Browning calibre ammunition, and a shotgun cartridge.

The items were allegedly recovered by gardai on a Dublin to Belfast train at Connolly Station on July 19.

A court order that had prevented reporters from identifying her was lifted following an application on behalf of the news media.

Safety

Ms Murtagh and a 23-year-old man, also from Dublin's north inner city, were arrested following an intelligence-led operation involving officers from the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.

At her first hearing at Dublin District Court on July 21, Judge Gerard Jones, then presiding, had agreed to a defence application for reporting restrictions and he directed journalists not to name her or the 23-year- old man due to "safety concerns".

The co-defendant is due to face his next hearing later this month, but Ms Murtagh appeared again at the district court before Judge Alan Mitchell yesterday.

He said he had received an application from the press asking for the legal basis for the order made by his colleague, and for the order to be discontinued in the proceedings before the court yesterday.

The application contended that the reporting restriction order made on July 21 appeared to be inconsistent with Article 34 (1) of the Constitution.

Nikita Murtagh has been refused bail and will appear in court again in two weeks’ time
Nikita Murtagh has been refused bail and will appear in court again in two weeks’ time

The article states: "Justice shall be administered in courts established by law by judges appointed in the manner provided by this Constitution and, save in such special and limited cases as may be prescribed by law, shall be administered in public."

Defence solicitor Eoin Lysaght asked the judge not to interfere with the order and to put the case back before Judge Jones.

Reason

However, Judge Mitchell said a question had been raised and he was giving the defence an opportunity to say if there was a reason for the order.

He said his colleague is a moveable judge in the Dublin area and did not have possession of the case.

Judge Mitchell also said restrictions on naming a defendant are normally only used in certain cases, such as those involving sexual offences.

The court must operate in public, he explained, and because he was given no legal basis for the order he lifted the reporting restrictions in Ms Murtagh's case.

The young woman was initially refused bail at Dublin District Court last month and was again denied bail when she made an application to the High Court.

Garda Marguerite Reilly told Judge Mitchell yesterday that directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) still needed to be obtained.

Judge Mitchell asked if it was likely that the case would be sent to the Special Criminal Court, but Gda Reilly said the trial venue had not yet been decided.

Judge Mitchell noted the woman is in custody and said the DPP "needs to get on with it" and he was marking "time running" in the case.

He further remanded Ms Murtagh in custody to appear again in two weeks, and he said the DPP's directions should be available by then, otherwise he will be asking for an explanation.

Silent

Dressed in a black jacket and grey tracksuit, Ms Murtagh remained silent during yesterday's hearing.

The two are charged with three counts under the Firearms Act - offences which can result in sentences of up to 14 years' imprisonment.

Gda Reilly had said the woman had strong links outside the jurisdiction, in particular in Northern Ireland, and she has close associates throughout Europe.

Her solicitor had told her bail hearing that the woman denied knowing what was in the bag.

The co-defendant is due back before Cloverhill District Court later this month, but the gagging order currently remains in force in his case.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News