herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Former US soldier in court over live bullets at airport

A PROBE is underway after a man brought live bullets through Dublin Airport in his luggage.

The former US soldier was able to fly to Ireland with the ammunition, prompting a judge to request an explanation from authorities.

The case has been compared to that of a Slovak man who unwittingly brought explosive materials on flight here in January.

In both incidences, the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) has insisted there was "no breach" of security on their part.

They were responding to concerns raised by a judge who heard a former US soldier was able to fly to Ireland without the bullets being detected.

The accused man, Byron Schaeffer, is facing charge of unlawful possession of ammunition. A court heard Schaeffer still had the bullets in his luggage when gardai searched his Kildare home.

Judge Desmond Zaidan asked how Schaeffer had been able to get through airport security but a DAA spokesperson told the Herald that no security review was needed at the airport.

"Security checks are carried out at airports of departure, not airports of arrival. If there was a breach of security it was at the point of departure."

Schaeffer, of Moneen View, Rheban Manor, Athy is alleged to have committed the offence at his home four years ago. He is also charged with possession of a small quantity of cannabis on the same day.

The court heard the accused had served time in military service in the US and had also spent time working at a hunting lodge. His solicitor said when Schaeffer was preparing to come to Ireland, he packed his things and "inadvertently packed the ammunition with the rest of his stuff".

The judge accepted jurisdiction to deal with the case at District Court level. He adjourned the case until March 23.

aphelan@herald.ie

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