Man facing trial for people smuggling granted legal aid

Frederick Cham
Frederick Cham

A judge has granted legal aid to an Aer Lingus worker accused of helping illegal immigrants enter the country.

Frederick Cham (61) is facing trial on two charges of organising or facilitating the entry of non-Irish nationals into the State on January 9 and January 22 last.

Cham, of Railway Cottages, Hazelhatch, Celbridge, Co. Kildare but originally from Hong Kong was arrested as part of an investigation by the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

The court heard previously it would be alleged that he, along with others, helped them to bypass passport control.

Last month Mr Cham was sent forward to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on the two charges.

He was previously refused legal aid and gardaí objected to a renewed application. The prosecution told the court that Mr Cham hasn’t fully disclosed his assets both here or abroad. The court heard details of two specific bank accounts in the UK and Hong Kong.

The court heard also that Mr Cham allegedly owns two cars, a 1996 vintage Mini Cooper and a “high spec limited edition” 2007 Alfa Romeo.

Lawyers for Mr Cham said that he was earning €400 a week with Aer Lingus. His salary has ceased and that his wife in China is dependant on him, they said.

They said his cars were valued at a total of €7,000.

Judge Karen O’Connor raised concerns about the lack of detail provided by Mr Cham but said she was also aware he was facing very serious charges and a trial that could take up to two weeks. She said legal representation was therefore desirable and granted legal aid.