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Hutch associate James ‘Mago’ Gately warned to file defence in CAB case or face losing legal aid

“I might take the legal aid off them if they don’t do the work,” the judge said.

James 'Mago' Gately

Eamon DillonSunday World

A High Court judge warned Kinahan Cartel target James ‘Mago’ Gately and his partner Charlene Lam to file a defence in a Criminal Asset Bureau case or face losing their free legal aid.

Judge Alex Owens also refused a request for an extra lawyer after granting the couple legal aid last month for the case which centres on their Coolock home.

Counsel for the bureau sought a hearing date this week and said the pair had not yet filed any replying affidavits to the allegations against them.

A lawyer for Gately and Lam said there was a very large volume of material involved and the replying affidavits were not ready.

Seeking extra legal aid to cope with the case Judge Owens said “certainly not” and the issue had already been dealt with at the last hearing.

He said he had read the papers and there was no reason the material could not be gone through.

“I might take the legal aid off them if they don’t do the work.”

‘Mago’ Gately has won his first battle with CAB last month when he was granted legal aid to fight the case against him.

Gately and his partner Charlene Lam claimed they were too broke to pay lawyers to fight the High Court.

Charlene Lam

CAB had claimed the couple had indulged in luxury holidays and spent €440,000 refurbishing their Coolock home.

It was stated the couple had taken luxury cruises and enjoyed “eye- watering” foreign travel.

The legal battle is over their family home, two cars and a €4,400 ladies Rolex watch which CAB allege were paid for with the proceeds of crime.

Opposing the application, counsel for CAB at that hearing had said the couple had enjoyed “eye-watering” foreign travel.

They went on two cruises including one that started in Singapore in which they had a cabin complete with a balcony visiting Korea, Japan and China.

James Gately said in an affidavit he hasn’t been able to work since October 2015 because of threat to his life but the property cars and jewellery were all bought with legitimate income.

He said that he has had to rely on the support of his partner and family members, but had previously worked as a barber and ran a sweet shop.

Judge Owens in his previous ruling said it looks as they have “insufficient means” to pay for legal representation.

He said while “in times gone by there was spending” with cruises in the Caribbean and Asia they now fall within the provision for legal aid.

While there was evidence of spending in the past, he said, “things were beginning to dry up of late.”

Having read the affidavits filed on both sides, Judge Owens said it is an “important matter” in which their family home is stake.

He allowed for a solicitor and junior counsel to be appointed and refused an application for a senior counsel to be included.


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