Sunday 18 March 2018

Murder conspiracy accused granted free legal aid despite €46k burglary insurance payout

Gary Gleeson and Stephen Dunne
Gary Gleeson and Stephen Dunne

Andrew Phelan

AN accused man in a conspiracy to murder case has been granted free legal aid despite garda claims that he got €46,000 in an insurance settlement over a house burglary.

Detectives maintained Gary Gleeson (33), who is accused of firearms offences and conspiring to kill a man, received the money in July this year.

Objecting to legal aid being granted, gardai previously said he had assets including a €14,000 Audi and a €4,000 Rolex watch.

However, Judge Kathryn Hutton today granted legal aid to Mr Gleeson after hearing he could not fund his own defence and gardai had no further evidence to back up their objections.

Gary Gleeson
Gary Gleeson

Mr Gleeson, with an address at Muskerry Road in Ballyfermot, and a co-accused Stephen Dunne (38), of Meile an Ri Drive in Lucan are both charged with conspiracy to murder Dublin man Michael Frazer on dates between July 28 and August 7 last.

They are also charged with possession of a 9mm Luger semi-automatic pistol and 10 rounds of 9mm calibre Sellier and Bellot ammunition with intent to endanger life at Naas Road in Crumlin on the same date.

The two men were arrested on August 7 after gardai intercepted a van during an operation targeting organised crime in Dublin.

Both accused were before the court last week, when Mr Dunne was granted free legal aid and had his case adjourned.

However, the court had heard The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) was conducting background checks on Gary Gleeson's financial situation and his legal aid application was deferred.

When the case came back before Judge Kathryn Hutton at Cloverhill District Court today, Mr Gleeson's barrister Aoife O'Halloran said she was reiterating her application.

She said prosecutors had told her investigations were ongoing, and the court had indicated it would not deny legal aid in the absence of any "definitive proof" in relation to the garda concerns.

Mr Gleeson did not have access to any assets and was not in a position to fund his defence, she said.

Detective Garda Val Russell of the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau said there appeared to be "one omission on the statement of means" in relation to a recent insurance settlement for a substantial amount of money.

He said Mr Gleeson was the injured party in an alleged burglary at an address in Kildare Town on November 11, 2014 and had received a €46,000 settlement in July this year.

"CAB's investigations are ongoing," he said, but added that he had no other evidence to offer the court.

Ms O'Halloran said as the source of the information was not present, the evidence of the settlement was hearsay.

Det Gda Russell said his hands were tied and he was in the court's hands.

Judge Hutton said she was granting the legal aid application as the garda had no documentary evidence.

Lorraine Stephens solicitor was assigned on legal aid. Det Gda Russell said the directions of the DPP were outstanding and there "may be further charges."

Mr Gleeson was remanded in custody, to appear in court again on September 22.

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