THE State has been ordered to return bags of gold to a merchant after gardai seized them at a "car boot sale" on suspicion that they were stolen property.
Gold dealer Anthony Lester Edwards had bought the €7,500 worth of jewellery "in good faith" from a man at his stall but gardai took it when it was discovered that the seller had used a false identity.
Dublin District Court heard investigating officers had still not been able to prove the gold was stolen, a year later.
Judge Victor Blake ordered the return of the gold to Mr Edwards after he made an application under the Police Property Act. The court heard the property was seized from the applicant at a market in a car park beside Tallaght Stadium on October 8, 2011.
Mr Edwards, with an office at Dame Street, Dublin 2, told the court he was approached at his stall by three men who asked for a price for two bags of gold. They settled on a figure of €7,200.
The men told him they had bought it in the UK and brought it back to Ireland to sell and he said this was not unusual.
Immediately after they left, gardai on duty at the event arrived and asked if he had bought anything.
He showed them the gold and the identification details he had been given and they indicated to him he had been "duped".
The gold was seized and Mr Edwards later went voluntarily to Tallaght Garda Station and made a statement.
He denied in court that it had been a "dubious transaction at a car boot sale".
The court heard that no evidence had been proffered saying gardai had found any other owner of the gold.