DNA obtained from a money bag seized by gardaí is "a thousand million times" more likely to have come from a Cork man accused of IRA membership than an unknown source, the Special Criminal Court heard today.
Dr Geraldine O'Donnell of the State's forensic science laboratory told the three-judge, non-jury court that a DNA sample from Tom Hanlon matched DNA taken from the zip tags and handle of one of a number of bags containing £2.4m (€2.83m).
Gardaí in Cork seized the bags from a house owned by financial adviser Mr Ted Cunningham in February, 2005.
Mr Hanlon (aged 43), of Pembroke Row, Passage West, Co Cork has pleaded not guilty to membership of the IRA on February 16, 2005.
Dr O'Donnell said on February 21, 2005 she carried out a forensic examination of a black and white hold-all bag and obtained a mixed DNA profile belonging to Tom Hanlon and Ted Cunningham.
She told prosecuting counsel Mr Tom O' Connell SC that a "likelihood ratio", indicating the strength of the DNA lifted, showed it was a billion times "more likely to have originated from them, rather than two unknown men".
The court also heard from Mr Dan Guerin who ran a garage at an industrial estate at Ballincollig, Co Cork where Mr Ted Cunningham operated his business.
He told the court that in February 2005, Mr Cunningham gave him £200,000 (€236,036) as a return for an investment he made "in a quarry" in 2002. This sum was also to "cover the cost" of a Mitsubishi Pajero Jeep which Mr Guerin said Ted Cunningham instructed was to be "given to Tom" Hanlon.
The court also heard how Mr Guerin asked Mr Cunningham to change £75,000 (€88,530) into euros for him. He was told Tom Hanlon would arrange this, and he handed the money over "just inside the door of his workshop".
He said he "never got the money back" from Tom Hanlon.
Mr Guerin told the court he stored some of the sterling he received at his office but then moved it to "a stable", "about a mile" from where he lived. This cash was later recovered by gardaí.
Ms Philomena Aherne, an aunt of Mr Hanlon, also gave evidence at the trial yesterday.
She said she was approached by the accused in February 2005, who told her that he was going through a divorce with his wife and didn't want her to know about a new home he planned to purchase with to his girlfriend.
Ms Aherne, the owner of a hairdressing business, agreed to convert cash from him totalling €61,000 into bank drafts in the name of a solicitor.
The court also heard from a Cork builder who knew Mr Hanlon through his work in construction.
He said he gave Tom Hanlon a cheque in return for €20,000 in cash in February, 2005.
A short time later he said he contacted Gardai after reading a newspaper article about inquiries into the "Northern Bank business".
The trial has already heard evidence from a Garda Chief Superintendent who said he believed he was "on the trail" of money stolen in the Northern Bank robbery in Belfast in 2004 when he launched an investigation into Tom Hanlon.
The case resumes tomorrow.
This case relates to a massive robbery in Belfast that was carried out by members of the PIRA..........
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