herald

Friday 18 January 2019

American denied bail in gun and fraud trial

AN AMERICAN who was allegedly caught with a firearm and ammunition in a Dublin city centre apartment has been sent forward for trial.

Michael Watkins (46) is also charged with possession of a counterfeit Irish passport and driving licence.

Judge David McHugh remanded Watkins in custody after gardai objected to bail, claiming he was a "huge flight risk".

Detective Garda Mark Looby alleged Watkins moved to Ireland from the United States in 2003 and has been living in Dublin ever since under the alias of Marcus Ahern.

Watkins was arrested last November by following an intelligence-led operation co-ordinated by detectives at Pearse Street Garda Station.

Watkins claimed he briefly used the alias of Marcus Ahern but only so he could get a PPS number and work in Ireland. However, the detective said he believed Watkins "wished to hide in Ireland".

Watkins, of Dodsboro, Lucan, appeared before Cloverhill District Court charged with the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.

He is also charged with having a false Irish driving licence and a false Irish passport at Eustace Street in Dublin's Temple Bar on December 6, 2009.

The court heard the DPP had directed trial on indictment on the charges. The State solicitor said the book of evidence was ready and had been served on Watkins, who goes forward to the present sittings of Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.





Objected

Marc Thompson, defending, said Watkins was applying for bail. Garda Looby objected to bail, claiming Watkins has no ties to the jurisdiction and his family is in the US.

The detective alleged Watkins has been illegally in Ireland since 2003, is known by his alias Marcus Ahern and has a PPS number in the same name.

Judge McHugh refused bail and remanded Watkins in custody.

hnews@herald.ie

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