Louth man jailed for part in attempted murder plot
A Louth man has been jailed for his part in an attempted murder plot in Dublin four years ago.
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' of James Gately at Newrath, Dromiskin, Co Louth in May 2017.
McAreavey, who was sentenced by the non-jury court on Wednesday for his role in the attempted murder, received a four-year jail term with the final year suspended.
The hitman who gunned down Kinahan cartel target James 'Mago' Gately as part of an organised attempted murder conspiracy has also been jailed for 20 years by 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.
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 Mr 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 January 5.
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 Mr Gately under surveillance the day before and on the morning of the shooting.
On Wednesday, February 17, Mr Justice Tony Hunt, delivering sentence, said that Smyth was involved in an "organised conspiracy to murder" and had engaged in surveillance of Mr Gately the day before.
The judge said that Smyth was involved in a high-speed getaway resulting in the comprehensive burning out of a vehicle, which showed the "intent of conspiracy"
Mr Justice Hunt said that there was no doubting Smyth's intent and that it was only "fortuitous circumstances" that spared Mr Gately's life.
Mr Justice Hunt said that there was little in Smyth's personal circumstances by way of mitigation and noted the lack of a guilty plea or any expression of remorse.
Smyth was sentenced to 20 years for the attempted murder and to a further 12 years for possession of a weapon to run concurrently.
The attack marked the second attempt to murder Mr Gately, with former Estonian separatist Imre Arakas having been intercepted by gardai 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 April 3 and 4, 2017.