A BUNDLE of €12,200 in cash wrapped in tinfoil and tied with black hairbands was found in a man’s pocket when gardaí were called to a domestic incident in Ballincollig.
Garda Shane Halligan said today that when the man with the cash was arrested at the height of a drunken row another man arrived on the scene and tried to retrieve the stash from his friend’s pocket.
The duo faced sentencing today after a jury convicted both of them for money-laundering in respect of the stash of €12,200.
Last July, a jury at Cork Circuit Criminal Court returned guilty verdicts against Kristian O’Flynn, aged 39, of 25 Old Fort Gate, Ballincollig, County Cork, and Luke O’Regan, aged 35, of 21 Old Fort Gate, Ballincollig on the same charge - that on April 12, 2017, at Old Fort Gate they handled the proceeds of criminal conduct - €12,200 cash, while believing or being reckless as to whether the said property was the proceeds of criminal conduct.
O’Flynn and O’Regan were sentenced to two years and three years, respectively, both sentences entirely suspended.
Mahon Corkery, defence barrister for O’Flynn, said the 39-year-old was progressing very well in full-time employment since this occurred almost three years ago.
Ronan Barnes BL for O’Regan said his client was also working and staying out of difficulty.
Judge James McCourt directed today that the seized €12,200 be forfeited to St. Vincent de Paul Society.
Last July, the jury found O’Regan guilty by a 10-2 majority and O’Flynn guilty by an 11-1 majority.
The prosecution case was that gardaí were called to the home of Luke O’Regan because of an unrelated domestic incident.
O’Regan was found to be drunk and a danger and was arrested at the scene.
He wanted to return to the house as he was being handcuffed.
It was alleged that O’Regan said something to Kristian O’Flynn who put his hand in O’Regan’s pocket and withdrew a packet.
It was a bundle of €50 notes totalling €12,200 wrapped in torn tinfoil and black bands.
Garda Richard O’Donnell and Garda Shane Halligan arrived at the scene at lunchtime on that date.
Garda Halligan said, “Luke O’Regan came out of the house. He was highly intoxicated.
"His speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. When arrested he was very insistent on going back into the house. He said he had a bladder problem.
“We said he could go to the toilet in the station. After that, he was being escorted to the patrol car. He was insistent on being brought back to the house.
“Kristian O’Flynn arrived at the scene. Initially, he was just hanging around. I saw Luke O’Regan whispering to him.
"I saw Kristian and he stuck his right hand into the right tracksuit jacket pocket of Luke O’Regan and I saw a silver object.
“As Kristian took possession of it I could see it was partially covered in tinfoil, which was ripped and black plastic bands.
“Luke O’Regan said, ‘I don’t know anything about it’.
“The money was counted in the garda station. There was €12,200 in €50 notes.”
Defence explanations for the cash were not accepted by the jury.
Today, prosecution barrister Donal McCarthy said in fairness to the two accused the state was not alleging criminality such as drug-dealing or prostitution but they were saying it was “the proceeds of some sort of misbehaviour.”
McCarthy said during the trial that the prosecution accepted the details of a house sale but said the prosecution case was that €12,200 was the proceeds of crime.
The charges were brought contrary to the Criminal Justice (Money-laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010.