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'Only conclusion' is that the accused 'pulled the trigger' in botched 'Mago' hit, court told


The State says Caolan Smyth carried out the shooting in 2017 on James Gately, who survived the attack

The State says Caolan Smyth carried out the shooting in 2017 on James Gately, who survived the attack

The State says Caolan Smyth carried out the shooting in 2017 on James Gately, who survived the attack

There is "no other conclusion" but that accused Caolan Smyth was the man who "pulled the trigger" in the attempted murder of James 'Mago' Gately, the State has told the Special Criminal Court.

Mr Gately 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 May 10, 2017.

Mr Gately, who was warned by gardaí of a threat to his life, survived the shooting after sustaining injuries to his upper chest and neck.

Caolan Smyth (28) of Cuileann Court, Donore, Co Meath, has pleaded not guilty to Mr Gately's attempted murder.

Mr Smyth has also pleaded not guilty to the possession of a firearm with intent to endanger on the same date and location.

His co-accused, Gary McAreavey (52), of Gort Nua, Station Road, Castlebellingham, Co Louth, has pleaded not guilty to acting to "impede an apprehension or prosecution by purchasing petrol and assisting in the burning out of the vehicle used in the attempted murder" at Newrath, Dromiskin, Co Louth, on the same day.

Prosecution barrister Ms Anne-Marie Lawlor SC, in her closing speech yesterday said that the case against Mr Smyth "is a whodunnit, where the only issue is if Caolan Smyth did it".

Regarding Mr Smyth, counsel said that the shooting was a "planned" one, which involved the "stakeout" of Mr Gately's north Dublin home that began the day before, May 9, 2017.

It is the prosecution's case that a black Lexus was used during the stakeout of Mr Gately's home and in his attempted murder and that the driver was also Mr Smyth.

"The issue is whether or not Caolan Smyth pulled the trigger and discharged multiple shots into James Gately at the Topaz garage in Clonshaugh," said Ms Lawlor.


"There are a number of strands of evidence that allow for no other conclusion but that Mr Caolan Smyth was the driver of the black Lexus and that he shot Mr Gately."

Ms Lawlor said the movements of the black Lexus on the day before the shooting "mirrored" the mobile phone locations used by what the prosecution allege is Mr Smyth's mobile on the day of the shooting.

"What I say is that there is a blanket of evidence that extinguishes oxygen from any other reasonable possibility other than Caolan Smyth being the driver of that vehicle," said Ms Lawlor.

Counsel said Mr Smyth gave his Cuileann Court address to gardaí when arrested and that he was identified by a garda witness as exiting the same address on the day before the shooting wearing "very identifiable tracksuit bottoms". She said that Mr Smyth's build and tattoos also identified him to gardaí.

Ms Lawlor said CCTV showed Mr Smyth at the Topaz as the driver of the black Lexus, which had blacked-out rear windows and alloy wheels, on May 9.

"This was, in effect, a rehearsal of the shooting," she said.

Ms Lawlor said that four gardaí identified Mr Smyth "without a shadow of a doubt" from CCTV at the Topaz on May 9 and that he was the driver of the Lexus.

The car was again tracked by CCTV and cell towers the next day, leaving Mr Smyth's home and travelling to the area of Mr Gately's home, said counsel.

Regarding Mr McAreavey, counsel said he had denied knowing Mr Smyth to gardaí but the State's case is that the two were in phone contact after the shooting.

Today the court will hear from the defence counsel for Mr Smyth, Mr John D Fitzgerald SC, who will deliver his closing speech to Mr Justice Hunt, sitting with Ms Justice Sarah Berkeley and Mr Justice Michael Walsh at the non-jury court.