Another Shooter faces Life in Prison, but the Feud is Far from Over yet??

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Hitman found guilty of shooting James ‘Mago’ Gately faces up to life in prison, court hears

  9 hrs ago

Hitman found guilty of shooting James ‘Mago’ Gately faces up to life in prison, court hears

A HITMAN FOUND guilty of shooting drugs cartel target James ‘Mago’ Gately, who survived the attempt on his life, will be sentenced by the non-jury Special Criminal Court next month along with an accomplice.a man riding on the back of a car: Gardaai investigating the scene after James 'Mago' Gately was shot near Dublin Airport in May 2017.© Eamonn Farrell via Gardaai investigating the scene after James ‘Mago’ Gately was shot near Dublin Airport in May 2017.

Gately, who was a Kinahan cartel target, was shot five times as he sat in his car at the Topaz filling station on the Clonshaugh Road in north Dublin at lunchtime on 10 May 2017.

The victim, who was warned by gardaí of a threat to his life and wore a bullet-proof vest, survived the shooting after sustaining injuries to his upper chest and neck.

Caolan Smyth (29) of Cuileann Court, Donore, Co Meath, had pleaded not guilty to Gately’s attempted murder. He had also denied the possession of a firearm with intent to endanger on the same date and location. He was found guilty of both charges on 5 January.

Gary McAreavey (53) of Gort Nua, Station Road, Castlebellingham, Co Louth, had pleaded not guilty to acting to ‘impede an apprehension or prosecution by purchasing petrol and assisting in the burning out of the vehicle, a black Lexus, used in the attempted murder’ at Newrath, Dromiskin, Co Louth on the same day.

The prosecution had argued there was “no other conclusion” than Smyth being the man who “pulled the trigger”, while the court also heard that he had put Gately under surveillance the day before and on the morning of the shooting.

The Special Criminal Court found it was beyond any reasonable doubt that Smyth was both the gunman and the driver in an “organised murder” attempt.

The attack marked the second attempt to murder Gately, with former Estonian separatist Imre Arakas having been intercepted by gardaí before he could carry out a contract on the victim’s life the month beforehand.

Arakas (62) was jailed by the Special Criminal Court for six years in December 2018, after he admitted to conspiring with others to murder James Gately in Northern Ireland between 3 and 4 April 2017.

Today, prosecuting barrister Ms Anne-Marie Lawlor SC said that the maximum Smyth is facing is life imprisonment and McAreavey is facing a maximum of 10 years.

Detective Garda Finbar Fleming of Santry Garda Station told Lawlor that Smyth had 36 previous convictions stretching back to 2012 that included burglary and possession of stolen property.

Fleming said that the victim, Gately, did assist in the investigation but did not give evidence and did not want to give a victim impact statement.

Detective Garda Kevin Rooney of Santry Garda Station told Ms Lawlor that McAreavey had two previous convictions – one for public order and one for the reckless discharge of a legally-held firearm, which was later surrendered to gardaí.

McAreavey’s barrister, Mr Hugh Hartnett SC, said that there was no evidence that his client was involved in any criminal behaviour prior to the attempted murder on the day in question.

Mr Justice Hunt agreed, saying that there was no evidence before the court that McAreavey had prior involvement in the shooting.

Hartnett said that McAreavey was a family man, a father of three, a good neighbour and that he and his wife had three children, the youngest of whom had a “significant disability”.

Hartnett said that testimonies to McAreavey’s good and “trustworthy” character were handed into the court and that he had been fully compliant with gardaí during his time on bail.

Counsel said that McAreavey was not a part of any gang and that he was a painter-decorator who could not work full-time due to an injury but that he still did “nixer” work.

Hartnett said it was not presented in evidence that McAreavey knew what the crime committed by Smyth was when McAreavey assisted in burning out the car.

“What jury could accept that there was something trivial here? None,” Mr Justice Hunt replied, however.

Mr John D Fitzgerald SC, defending Smyth, said that his client’s parents had separated when he was a child and that Smyth’s direction in life was guided by his grandfather who passed away in 2017.

Smyth, who grew up in Coolock in Dublin, moved to Louth at aged 12 and left school after completing his Junior Certificate. Counsel said that Smyth had a good work record in construction, retail and security and had been an all-Ireland boxing champion at underage level.

Fitzgerald said that there was no aggravating factor against Smyth in the form of a victim impact statement from Gately.

“Yes, strange but true,” said Mr Justice Hunt of the lack of the statement.


Mr Justice Hunt adjourned the case until 17 February to consider sentencing.

McAreavey and Smyth were both remanded in custody to that date.

In passing judgement at the non-jury court on 5 January, presiding judge Mr Justice Tony Hunt said that the case against Smyth was beyond any reasonable doubt that he took part in what was intended to be an “organised murder”.

The prosecution case relied on mobile phone locations through cell towers and phone-use tied to the car’s movements over 9-10 May and positive Garda identifications of Smyth from CCTV at the filling station.

Shortly after the attempted murder, McAreavey was spotted on CCTV in Castlebellingham filling petrol into a red petrol can, which the non-jury court found was used in the “comprehensive destruction” of the getaway car near Dromiskin after Smyth and McAreavey travelled in convoy to the burn-site.

Comments are closed as legal proceedings are ongoing.

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