CAB opposes free legal aid application by couple

The Criminal Assets Bureau has argued before the High Court that gangland figure James “Mago” Gately and his partner Charlene Lam should not be granted free legal aid to defend proceedings where the bureau claims their family home was bought with the proceeds of crime.

CAB opposes the application and claims that the couple, who it says have gone on foreign trips including cruises of the Caribbean and Southeast Asia, and spend over €440,000 on their home, can afford to pay for their own legal representation.

In its proceedings against Mr Gately, who it is alleged is heavily involved with an organised crime gang, and Ms Lam, CAB seeks orders in respect of their home in Coolock, Co Dublin, as well as assets including a Volkswagen Golf GTI car, and a ladies Rolex watch seized by the bureau in 2019.

CAB claims that the assets were acquired with the proceeds of crime and are seeking various orders under Section 3 of the 1996 Proceeds of Crime Act.

The couple deny the claims and say that the assets were acquired with legitimate funds.

In a pre-trial application, before Mr Justice Alexander Owens, the couple asked the High Court to make orders that they be each granted free legal aid to defend the proceedings.

The couple represented by David Perry Bl claim that they cannot afford to pay lawyers from their own funds to defend what counsel said are “complex” proceedings.

The court heard that Mr Gately has not worked since 2015 due to a threat on his life, and that Ms Lam is a self-employed beautician, who pays the mortgage on the family home and general living expenses out of her own modest income.

It is claimed that her business suffered during the Covid-19 and for a time she was in

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