Man charged with hiring person to murder

Gary O'Flynn, son of former Cork TD Noel O'Flynn, at Cork District Court yesterday. photograph: daragh mcsweeney

Gary O'Flynn, son of former Cork TD Noel O'Flynn, at Cork District Court yesterday. photograph: daragh mcsweeney

Tue, Mar 5, 2013, 00:00

A former elected representative of Cork City Council appeared before Cork District Court yesterday charged with soliciting a person to murder a Revenue official, an accountant and a detective garda.

Gary O’Flynn (37) of Hayfield Drive, Castle Court, Whitechurch, Co Cork, was charged with soliciting a named person to murder accountant Patrick Sweeney, Revenue official George Ross and Det Garda Mary Skehan, contrary to section 4 of the Offences Against the State Act 1861.

The offences were alleged to have occurred between October 1st, 2012, and February 15th of this year.

Plea of ‘not guilty’

Det Sgt Dennis Lynch told Cork District Court that, on March 3rd at 10.05pm, he arrested Mr O’Flynn and charged him with three counts of soliciting a named person to murder. Under caution, Mr O’Flynn replied “not guilty” to each of the three charges.

Defence solicitor Joe Cuddigan applied for free legal aid and handed a certificate of means in to the court.

Mr Cuddigan told Judge Leo Malone that the accused was entitled to free legal aid. He emphasised that if Mr O’Flynn filed a false statement of means having given sworn evidence it would leave him open to a perjury charge.

In evidence to Judge Leo Malone, Mr O’Flynn stressed he had absolutely no income from the date of the hearing.

“I have no savings, my wife owns the house, I have no car, I have no property abroad. I have a business but I am self-employed. I have no savings in joint accounts.”

Mr O’Flynn agreed to furnish his bank accounts at the request of the State. The State applied to see these accounts.

A bail application was made in the case. Insp Billy Duane, on behalf of the State, vehemently opposed bail, saying the accused had properties abroad and was likely to abscond.

Insp Duane said his personal experience of the accused was that he was of the means to fund previous legal representations on other matters.

Seriousness of charges

Det Sgt Denis Lynch said he was objecting to bail on the basis of the seriousness of the three charges before the court.

“Soliciting someone to murder is one of the most serious charges in the State and carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.”

The second objection made by Det Sgt Lynch was based on the nature of the evidence obtained in support of the charges.

“There were statements made by witnesses accompanied by CCTV. Money was handed over by Mr O’Flynn to an undercover member of an Garda Síochána. The accused was caught red-handed.”

Det Sgt Lynch also expressed his concern about the possibility of interference with prosecution witnesses as gardaí allege that Mr O’Flynn previously looked up the Land Registry to obtain the address of Garda Skehan.

UK and Mexico trips

He also said he was worried about the possibility of Mr O’Flynn absconding, given that he has travelled to the UK and Mexico in recent months.

Mr Cuddigan said his client had no difficulty with having a geographical exclusion zone from named individuals. He also stressed that his client would be prepared to agree to signing on conditions, curfews and refraining from contacting individuals related to the case.

Legal aid was granted in the case, pending the submission of bank statements by Mr O’Flynn. Bail was denied in the case.

Mr O’Flynn will appear before the court again tomorrow.

Mr O’Flynn was a city councillor in Cork from 2004 to 2008, when he resigned citing work commitments.

He is the son of retired Fianna Fáil TD Noel O’Flynn who represented Cork North Central. His brother, Ken, is a sitting city councillor in Cork.