Rescue unit founder resigns after court appearance

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imageTHE FOUNDING member of County Limerick Search and Rescue unit has resigned his position as a equipment officer following a court appearance on charges of allegedly handling stolen goods at his home last year.

Abbeyfeale and District Search and Rescue equipment officer Christopher Kelliher (53) of Dromtrasna, Abbeyfeale was arrested and brought before a sitting of Newcastle West District Court where he was charged with handling stolen goods.

The prosecution claims that on August 13 last, Mr Kelliher was found in possession of a number of items that had been reported stolen from Miltown, Co Kerry.

Gardai discovered three Husqvarna chainsaws and one Husqvarna consaw at Mr Kelliher’s address in Dromtrasna on the date in question.

The value of the stolen items totalled €3,130 according to investigating Gardai.

Garda Joe Murphy, attached to Killarney Garda station said that the 53-year-old made no reply when charged.

Defence solicitor Vivian O’Shea sought the court grant Mr Kelliher legal aid for his defence in the allegations and a statement of means was submitted to Judge Mary Larkin.

Ms O’Shea also applied to the court that the defence receive full disclosure of evidence from Gardai in the case within four weeks.

Judge Larkin granted both applications and remanded Christopher Kelliher on bail, on his own bond of €300, to February 18 next when a plea or a date for a hearing of the case will be set.

In a statement released after the court hearing, solicitors for Mr Kelliher said that his resignation from the search and rescue unit came as a result of “unfounded speculation that has arisen” and he “is taking this action of his own volition and with a heavy heart.”

The statement also said that Mr Kelliher would be defending the matter “vigorously”.