Belfast Telegraph

Pictured: Man accused of carrying loaded gun on Dublin to Belfast train

By Andrew Phelan

A judge has lifted a gagging order that had banned the media from naming a man accused of carrying a loaded gun on a Dublin to Belfast train.

Ciaran Ryan (23) can now be identified as the man who is alleged to have had a semi-automatic pistol and ammunition that were seized by gardai on a train at Connolly Station in July.

Judge Victor Blake said he was lifting the reporting ban following an application by the news media, after Mr Ryan’s solicitor could provide no legal basis for its continuation.

Judge Blake said he was allowing publication of Mr Ryan's name because justice must be administered in public, under the Irish Constitution.

This follows a similar move by Judge Alan Mitchell, who last month ruled that the press could identify co-accused Nikita Murtagh (20), a mother-of-one alleged to have handed Mr Ryan the gun and ammunition.

Both defendants had been subject of a gagging order imposed by Judge Gerard Jones after they were first arrested and brought to court in July.

Their solicitors had sought those orders “for safety concerns” and repeatedly opposed the media’s requests in court to have them lifted.

The case against Mr Ryan was adjourned today for the directions of the DPP to be made available, while Ms Murtagh will be sent for trial when a book of evidence is ready.

Mr Ryan, from Summerhill and Ms Murtagh, from Mariner’s Port, both in the north inner city, are each charged with three firearms offences - unlawful possession of a CZ model semi-automatic pistol with two rounds of 7.65 Browning calibre ammunition and one shotgun cartridge.

The offences are alleged to have happened at Connolly Station on July 19. The pair have been refused bail and are currently in custody.

Today, Detective Garda Gary Dunne of the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau told Cloverhill District Court the directions of the DPP were not yet available.

He said a file had been sent to the DPP and he was seeking a further remand.

Defence solicitor Miska Hanahoe said the case had been before the court since July 21 and asked Judge Blake to consider the issue of jurisdiction, to decide whether the case was to be sent forward to a higher court.

“It’s a matter that is only going in one direction,” she said.

Ms Hanahoe said the co-accused had been before Judge Mitchell, who refused jurisdiction in her case and adjourned it for the service of a book of evidence.

Judge Blake said he would not consider jurisdiction today and said he was remanding Mr Ryan in custody to appear in court again on October 10.

Judge Blake then said an issue had arisen in relation to Judge Jones having inserted reporting restrictions.

A query had been raised by the media “and it’s been raised correctly” about why reporting restrictions should prevail.

He asked on what basis the defence was still requesting reporting restrictions.

Ms Hanahoe said she was aware reporting restrictions were lifted for the co-accused but argued there was a “slight difference” in her client’s case.

Judge Blake asked what her basis in law was for requesting continuation of the reporting ban for her client.

“Can you refer to any statute or any legislation or any case law?” he asked.

Ms Hanahoe said she could not and that she believed it was at the judge’s discretion.

“In the circumstances, then, according to our Constitution, justice has to be administered in public… and the reporting restriction order is lifted as of today,” Judge Blake said.

Ms Hanahoe asked the judge to reconsider and referred to the Bail Act.

Judge Blake said he was allowing today’s proceedings to be reported on, and going forward from today.

Mr Ryan, dressed in black, sat smiling during much of the hearing.

Both accused face a maximum potential sentence of 14 years in prison if they are convicted.

Irish Independent

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