A Dublin man has pleaded guilty at the Special Criminal Court to his involvement in a failed bid by the Kinahan Cartel to murder rival Hutch gang member James 'Mago' Gately four years ago.
Gately had been warned by gardaí of a threat to his life from criminals who believed him to be involved in the Regency Hotel murder of Kinahan Cartel associate David Byrne in February 2016.
The court has heard in previous related cases that there was "ongoing targeting" of Gately in the context of a feud between the Hutch and Kinahan crime groups. Estonian hitman Imre Arakas was brought to Ireland in 2017 to carry out the murder of Gately before he was apprehended by gardaí.
On Tuesday at the non-jury court Dubliner Stephen Fowler pleaded guilty to his involvement in the attempted murder of Gately.
Fowler (62) pleaded guilty to the single charge, which was read out by the registrar, of having knowledge of a criminal organisation and "with the intention of enhancing the ability of the said criminal organisation or any of its members to commit a serious offence, namely the murder of James Gately, participated in or contributed to activities with the said offence".
The offence relates to dates between December 7th, 2016, and April 4th, 2017, at a location or locations within the State, when Gately was in Northern Ireland.
Fowler, of Blakestown Cottages, Clonsilla, Dublin 1, spoke only to acknowledge his name and said "guilty" when the charge was read out to him.
Mr Justice Tony Hunt fixed Thursday, September 16th, for a sentence hearing.
Earlier this month, senior cartel member Peter Keating (40) of Rowlagh Green, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, was jailed for 11 years having pleaded guilty to directing the activities of a criminal organisation between December 7, 2016, and April 4, 2017, inclusive, within and without the State under Section 71 of the Criminal Justice Act.
In July of this year, David Duffy (33) of Greenfort Lawns, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, also pleaded guilty to having knowledge of the existence of a criminal organisation and participating in or contributing to activities connected with the said offence, namely the murder of James Gately, with the intention of enhancing the ability of the said criminal organisation or any of its members to commit the serious offence, within the State between December 7th, 2016 and April 6th, 2017, both dates inclusive.
Duffy was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment with a further year suspended.
In another attempt on his life, Gately, who wore a bullet-proof vest, survived being shot five times as he sat in his car at the then Topaz petrol station on the Clonshaugh Road in north Dublin on May 10th, 2017.
In February of last year, Caolan Smyth (30) of Cuileann Court, Donore, Co Meath, was sentenced to 20 years for the attempted murder of Gately and for possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life. Smyth had denied both charges.
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 at Newrath, Dromiskin, Co Louth on the same day. McAreavey received a four-year jail term with the final year suspended.
The Clonshaugh attack was the second attempt to murder Gately, with former Estonian separatist Imre Arakas having been intercepted by gardaí before he could carry out a contract on the victim’s life the month beforehand.
Arakas (63) was jailed by the Special Criminal Court for six years in December 2018, after he admitted to conspiring with others to murder Gately in Northern Ireland between April 3rd and 4th, 2017.