Archive | July, 2008

CAB Seizes Criminal’s Kildare Home

31 Jul

CAB Seizes Kildare Home

Of Convicted Criminal

By J. P. Anderson

The criminal Assets Bureau has seized the home of a convicted criminal in Co Kildare.

Eddie Connors, 33, has links to criminal gangs and has 24 previous convictions.

He is currently serving a four-year prison sentence for handling stolen property.

His wife Margaret is also a convicted criminal with 10 previous convictions.

Today the High Court granted an order committing the CAB to seize and sell the couple’s home at Drehid, Carbury in Co Kildare.

The converted cottage is estimated to be worth more than €400,000.

The action was taken under the Proceeds of Crime Act

Connors has also been a target of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigations as well as the Criminal Assets Bureau for some time.

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Karadzic Claims Irregularities In His Capture

31 Jul

Karadzic Claims Irregularities

In His Capture

By J. P. Anderson

THE HAGUE (AFP) – Former Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic claimed irregularities in his capture and contested the date of his arrest, when he appeared before a UN war crimes court Thursday.

"You were misinformed about the date of my arrest," he told Judge Alphons Orie on his initial appearance before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

There were "numerous irregularities concerning my relation to this institution and my appearance here," he added, citing "procedural irregularities in my arrival here."

THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic appeared before a U.N. war crimes judge for the first time on Thursday to answer genocide charges and asked for more time before entering his plea.

Karadzic, who was arrested last week after 11 years on the run, wore a dark suit and tie, and appeared gaunt as he sat alone, with a guard on either side of him. He occasionally wiped his brow and spoke in Serbian.

The leader of Bosnian Serbs during the 1992-95 Bosnia war is the most prominent Balkan war crimes suspect arrested since late Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, who died in detention in 2006 before his trial ended.

"You are Radovan Karadzic, aren’t you?" he was asked by Judge Alphons Orie. "Yes I am," he answered.

The Judge noted Karadzic was alone. Smiling, the suspect replied: "I have an invisible adviser but I have decided to represent myself."

Karadzic faces two charges of genocide over the 43-month siege of Sarajevo and the 1995 massacre of some 8,000 Muslims at Srebrenica, the worst atrocity in Europe since World War Two.

Offered a chance to have the indictment read to him, Karadzic said: "I am not interested in having someone else read me the indictment."

He said he wanted to see the new indictment prosecutors are preparing and asked to study it before entering a plea.

He appeared at the court after spending his first night in a cell at the U.N. war crimes tribunal detention centre in The Hague.

SHAVEN

Since his arrest in Belgrade he has shorn the flowing beard and long hair that helped disguise him as an alternative healer in the years following the war. He was flown to the Netherlands on Wednesday morning.

The behaviour of Karadzic — a flamboyant figure when Bosnian Serb leader — will offer an indication as to how he will conduct himself during his eventual trial, and whether judges can expect a repeat of the forceful display by Milosevic in the same courtroom.

Just like Milosevic, Karadzic has suggested he wishes to defend himself, a move which could protract the proceedings.

Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz said he would conduct the trial efficiently, learning from the Milosevic case.

"Of course it will take some months before the prosecution and defence will be ready to start. It will be a complex trial but we are fully aware of the importance of being efficient," he told reporters.

Karadzic’s lawyer in Serbia had said his client would make use of the 30-day-period he is allocated to make a plea. Under court rules if he refuses to enter a plea, then a plea of ‘not guilty’ is entered for him.

Karadzic’s delivery to The Hague was key to Serbia securing closer ties with the European Union and his arrest was seen as a pro-Western signal by the new government sworn in this month.

France, the current EU president, said in a statement that Karadzic’s arrest and transfer "mark an important step in the process of reconciliation in the western Balkans and in the rapprochement between Serbia and Europe."

File In Prepration On Suspected Dublin INLA Boss Declan Duffy Court Told

31 Jul

File Being Prepared On Suspected

Dublin INLA Leader Declan Duffy Court Told

By J. P. Anderson

An “extensive” garda file on the suspected leader of the INLA in Dublin is currently being compiled, the Special Criminal Court heard today.
Declan Duffy, a 34-year-old native of Armagh City, with an address at Hanover St West, Dublin 8 was charged last month with membership of an illegal organisation styling itself the Irish National Liberation Army, otherwise the INLA on June 22.
Prosecution solicitor Mr Michael O’Donovan told the court that an “extensive” file is being compiled by the gardaí dealing with “alleged activities over a long period of time” and that it is anticipated to be ready in early October.
Mr Justice Paul Butler, presiding at the three-judge court, agreed with Duffy’s counsel that “all the stops should be pulled out”.
Duffy was sentenced to nine years imprisonment by the Special Criminal Court in 2000 for possession of firearms and false imprisonment relating to the `Ballymount bloodbath’ when an INLA member was killed.
He was refused bail last month after the court heard that gardai believe he would continue to direct the activities of the terrorist organisation and attempt to procure guns and explosives if freed.
Mr Justice Butler remanded Duffy in custody until early October when the case will be mentioned again.

Child Social Services Failings Highlighted

31 Jul

Child Social Service

Failings Highlighted

By J. P. Anderson

The Minister for Children, Barry Andrews, has said that out-of-hours access to social workers needs to be addressed.

Launching a series of reports on child protection, Minister Andrews also said regional disparities existed in the application of guidelines.

The reports are part of a review of guidelines commissioned in response to the Ferns Inquiry.

The author of one of the reports said out-of-hours access to social workers an issue that arose consistently in responses from users of the child protection system.

High Court Adjourns Request To Extradite Wharrie

31 Jul

High Court Adjourns Request to Extradite Wharrie

By J. P. Anderson

THE High Court adjourned an extradition request by the British authorities for 48-year-old Englishman Perry Wharrie, who was jailed for his role in a €400 million cocaine operation in Co Cork.
London-born Perry Brian Wharrie, with an address at Pyrles Lane, Loughton, Essex, is being sought in relation to the 1988 armed robbery of a Securicor van at Barclays Bank at Hemel Hempstead in Britain during which a police officer was shot dead. He received a life sentence for the crime.
Earlier this month Wharrie, along with Martin Wanden, aged 45, and Joe Daly, aged 41, received lengthy jail sentences for their involvement in an operation to smuggle €400m worth of cocaine which was found in Dunlough bay, Mizen Head, on July 2,

2007.

Yesterday at the High Court, Mr Justice Michael Peart remanded Wharrie in custody until mid-October.
The British authorities claim Wharrie was released by British authorities on licence in April 2005. Part of the conditions of his release was that he would not leave Britain unless he received permission from the authorities and that he maintains regular contact with the authorities.
In February 2007 it is claimed the authorities were informed Wharrie left his home address in Essex and did not leave a forwarding address. Wharrie along with two others were convicted in connection with the shooting dead of an off-duty police officer PC Frank Mason, 27, a former journalist, who had intervened during an armed robbery of a Securicor van on April 14, 1988.
During a struggle with the robbers a single shot was fired by another party which

Killed PC Mason. In 1989 Wharrie was given a life sentence for the officer’s murder, as well as receiving a number of concurrent sentences for robbery and the firearms offences.

Over 600 Performers Attending Weekend Feadh

31 Jul

More Than 600 Performers

Attending Fleadh

By J. P. Anderson

Ireland’s biggest celebration of traditional and Celtic music is due to kick off today.

Trad fans flocked to the World Fleadh in Portlaoise on the first day of the festival which will see more than 600 musicians and entertainers perform over the weekend.

Plenty of craic and ceoil have been promised by the organisers during the festival which boasts the largest scheduled session trail in the country.

Musical highlights over the bank holiday weekend include Sharon Shannon, Mundy, Damien Dempsey, Jack L, Shane McGowan, Tommy Fleming and The Hothouse Flowers.

Other big names performing will by The Wolfe Tones, Frankie Gavin, Dessie O’Halloran, Lunasa, Seamus Begley and Jim Murray.

More than 180 volunteers from the area have been drafted in to help with in the day-to-day running of the festival, which runs to Bank Holiday Monday August 4th.

Brian Kennedy, Moya Brennan (Clannad) and Anthony Kearns, and some 200 artists, will star in a special concert on the Sunday night.

Organisers have made family and street entertainment a priority for this year’s festival, with its food market and craft fair, photography and art exhibitions, and Kiddies Korner.

Aerobatics, hot air balloon rides, street music sessions, busking competitions, on street football and basketball tournaments have also been added to the event.

200 Children Admitted To Adult Mental Hospitals Last Year

31 Jul

200 Children Admitted To Adult

Mental Hospitals Last Year

By J. P. Anderson

THE State’s mental health watchdog has warned the Government of the urgent need to provide psychiatric facilities for children after almost 200 children were admitted to adult mental hospitals last year.

The Mental Health Commission (MHC) says the practice can have an adverse effect on children and should only take place where there is no alternative. Some of the children admitted to adult institutions were as young as 14.

The comments are contained in a report submitted to the Government on the operation of the Mental Health Act, which came fully into force 1½ years ago.

New figures show there is little sign of child admissions to adult units falling this year. Between January and June, a further 113 children were placed in adult psychiatric facilities.

The commission says the legislation has made important improvements for patients with mental health difficulties. It says the proportion of people in psychiatric hospitals against their will has fallen by 25 per cent since the Act came into force.

It also points to the establishment of mental health tribunals – which provide for automatic reviews of involuntarily detained patients – which sat on 2,500 occasions last year. These tribunals, which take place within 21 days of a patient being detained against their will, resulted in about 11 per cent of detention orders being revoked.

However, there are major variations in involuntary detention around the country. Patients are almost twice as likely to be detained against their will in the south than in the greater Dublin area.

MHC chairman Dr Edmond O’Dea said the new Act has led to a higher level of accountability and external scrutiny. While this progress is very encouraging, he said the commission has made important recommendations.

These include the introduction of new capacity legislation to clarify how decisions are taken in relation to patients unable to participate in decisions about their care. Other recommendations include changes to ensure the rights of patients being re-graded from voluntary to involuntary status are protected. The commission proposes research to examine patients before, during and after the process of involuntary admission.