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Teen 'told to collect grenade by Hutch killer' in bid to end case

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Murderer Jonathan Keogh

Murderer Jonathan Keogh

Murderer Jonathan Keogh

A young man arrested as a child for running an alleged explosives and firearm collection errand for one of the people convicted of the murder of Gareth Hutch wants the High Court to dismiss his prosecution over delay.

He was just 16 when he was arrested for the offences and as a result of the delay in charging him, he will lose his anonymity he enjoyed as a child, he claims.

He also faces a mandatory minimum five-year sentence if convicted of the offences as an adult. A child could be sent to a detention school or even dealt with by community order, it is claimed.

He was arrested in February 2016 on the M7 motorway at Mountrath, Portlaoise, travelling as a passenger in a car which was allegedly found to have a Glock firearm, two explosive devices and an unlicensed air pistol.

The court heard that as a result of evidence gathered by gardai in the month after his arrest, it is claimed the boy had attended the "errand" meeting with Jonathan Keogh (33), who last November was one of three people jailed for life for murdering Gareth Hutch.

Grenade

It is claimed that shortly before his arrest, the boy was taken to a service station cafe to meet Keogh, who told him to go to Limerick, pick up a grenade, and bring it back to Dublin.

It is claimed Keogh offered to knock €10,000 off a debt owed by the boy if he did the job.

Gardai stopped the car and found the explosives and firearm, it is alleged. The boy and the driver were charged last September.

Last November, his lawyers brought a High Court challenge against the garda commissioner and DPP seeking to prohibit his trial on grounds of delay in the prosecution. The defendants opposed the application.

In arguments before Mr Justice Seamus Noonan yesterday, Vincent Heneghan SC, for the young man, said there was no good reason for the delay in charging and having him dealt with before he reached 18.

Paul Anthony McDermott SC, for the defendants, said there was no blameworthy delay in this case.

Mr Justice Noonan reserved his decision.