Man who was 16 when he allegedly did gangland errand loses legal challenge

Accused claims delay in charging him meant he will lose anonymity he would have as child

A man arrested as a child for running an alleged weapons errand for a person convicted of murdering Gareth Hutch has failed in a legal bid to stop his prosecution.

The man, who was 16 when arrested three years ago, claimed the delay in charging him meant he will lose anonymity he enjoyed as a child because he is now over 18.

On Friday, the High Court dismissed his challenge over that delay.

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan said there was no culpable delay in the case but, even if there was, the public interest in prosecuting him outweighed the prejudice to him as a result of the prosecution not proceeding while he was still a minor.


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 pistol, ammunition, a pipe bomb 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 outside a north city Dublin flat complex on May 24th, 2016. He was a nephew of Gerry Hutch, who is involved in a feud with drug dealer Christy Kinahan's gang.

It is claimed that shortly before his arrest, the boy was brought to a Dublin 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.

Gardaí stopped the car and found the explosives and firearm, it is alleged. The boy and the driver were charged in September 2018.

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

His lawyers argued, among other things, that gardaí had all the evidence needed to charge him a month after his arrest.

He faces a mandatory minimum five year sentence if convicted of the offences as an adult, whereas a child could be sent to a detention school or even dealt with by community order in such a case, it was also argued.

The State argued there was never any possibility of the case being dealt with in the time between when he was arrested and when he turned 18. Even if he had been charged before that, he would still be 18 by the time his case came to trial and, if convicted, at his sentencing hearing.