Laois men stand trial for counterfeit currency operation

Gardai who searched the address of one of four men accused of having equipment for printing counterfeit currency found boxes containing paper samples and cartridges for large format printers, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

Gardai who searched the address of one of four men accused of having equipment for printing counterfeit currency found boxes containing paper samples and cartridges for large format printers, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

The evidence was heard at the non-jury trial of Anthony Sloan (57), a native of Belfast with an address at Ard na Mara, Dundalk, Co Louth, Liam Delaney (41), with addresses at Mountrath and Borris-in-Ossory, Co Laois, Kevin Flanagan (42), of Borris-in-Ossory and Andrew Poole (43), of Portlaoise, Co Laois.

The men have all pleaded not guilty to possession of equipment, including printers and cutting machines, to manufacture counterfeit currency at Ballybrophy, Borris-in-Ossory, Co Laois on May 31, 2010.

In his opening address, prosecuting counsel Mr Tom O’ Connell SC told the court that gardai who raided a yard at Ballybrophy on May 31st, 2010 found the four accused men in a portakabin.

Inside the portakabin they discovered a trap door, hidden under a chest of drawers, which led to an underground bunker made out of two forty foot containers.

Within this bunker he said, gardai discovered a number of printers, cutting machines and other materials used in printing. Mr O’Connell said the court would hear that the men denied knowledge of the bunker and told gardai they were attending a business meeting in the portakabin.

Sergeant Catriona Gunn told Mr O’Connell that she was a member of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation and that on May 31st 2010, she executed a warrant to search an address of Liam Delaney’s at Newline Close, Mountrath, Co Laois.

She said that in a small bedroom in the house she found several brown corporate boxes addressed to printing companies on the Lower Rathmines Road in Dublin 6.

Sgt Gunn said that two of the boxes, addressed to a Kevin Farrell, contained 14 paper sample catalogues, 500 sheets of laser and inkjet paper and 14 print cartridges suitable for use in the iPF series of printers.

She said that another box, this time addresses to a “Padraig King of the Green Roads Printing Company” contained rolls of paper marked with what she described as Chinese writing. Sgt Gunn said the box was marked number “two of two”.

The court heard evidence yesterday from printing specialist Ray Sherlock, who said that up until 2010 he had worked with Canon for 25 years and could identify the two machines found in the underground bunker as iPF 8100 model printers.

The trial, which is expected to last four weeks, continues on Tuesday in front of presiding judge Mr Justice Paul Butler.