Man who booked flights for hitman in Kinahan cartel murder plot is jailed

ireland
Man Who Booked Flights For Hitman In Kinahan Cartel Murder Plot Is Jailed
Dubliner David Duffy is the latest man to be sentenced for his involvement in a bid by the cartel to murder James 'Mago' Gately. Photo: Collins
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Paul Neilan

A man who booked flights for an international hitman hired in a Kinahan cartel plot to murder a rival Hutch gang member has been jailed by the Special Criminal Court for five years.

Dubliner David Duffy is the latest man to be sentenced for his involvement in a bid by the cartel to murder James 'Mago' Gately and was on Friday jailed by the three-judge court for supplying logistical support.

Mr Justice Hunt said that while Duffy had not directly participated in the surveillance of Mr Gately's car, he was involved in booking flights for a former Estonian separatist fighter turned international hitman, Imre Arakas, to come to Ireland.

The court has heard on previous occasions that Arakas (63) was brought to Ireland on April 3r, 2017 to target Gately but was intercepted by gardai before he could carry out the contract on the victim's life. He was jailed for six years in December 2018, having pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to murder Gately in Northern Ireland between April 3r and 4th, 2017.

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In April, Duffy (33) of Greenfort Lawns, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, 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.

Logistical support

In passing sentence on Friday, presiding judge Mr Justice Tony Hunt said that Duffy had provided logistical support to an organised crime group of the "most serious variety in the commission of a serious crime".

Mr Justice Hunt said that "the forestalling of the attempt on Mr Gately's life was only made possible by gardaí".

The judge said that Duffy had been involved in booking flights to and from the UK for the organisation ahead of the planned attempt and sourced a vehicle for use by the gang.

The judge said that Duffy was involved in the planned cleaning of a car of fingerprints, that he was in possession of a pack of SIM cards intended for use in burner phones and that he was in "frequent" contact with the director of activities in the foiled plan.

Mr Justice Hunt said that Duffy also sourced tracker devices for vehicles, one of which had been attached to Mr Gately's car in Belfast.

The judge said that Duffy's role was, however, "limited to logistics" and that he had only one previous conviction of any significance.

Early guilty plea

He fixed eight years as an appropriate headline sentence for the offence, which carries a maximum of 15 years' imprisonment.

Discounting a quarter of that sentence due to Duffy's early plea of guilty, the judge said he would also take into account Duffy's "reasonable record of employment".

Mr Justice Hunt said that Duffy would be a relatively young man upon release and that there was also a possibility of rehabilitation. He said Duffy should "address the personal difficulties that brought him to his current situation".

Mr Justice Hunt then suspended the final year of a six-year sentence and ordered Duffy to engage with the probation services for that year upon his release.

The judge further ordered that Duffy be of good behaviour for three years upon his release and that he enter into a €100 bond to that end.

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