Gardaí objected to free legal aid being assigned to Gary O’Flynn and cross-examined him yesterday on property ownership, the content of bank accounts, and recent trips to the UK and Mexico.
Solicitor Joseph Cuddigan presented a statement of means prepared by Mr O’Flynn in which he stated that he had no income, and the application was made at Cork District Court to assign Mr Cuddigan to represent him on free legal aid.
Mr Cuddigan said it was a constitutional right to have legal representation in a case such as that faced by Mr O’Flynn in the context of him having no income.
He also said this had not been contradicted by evidence and that if Mr O’Flynn had said anything untrue to advance his application for free legal aid it would be open to the State to prosecute him for perjury at a later stage.
Judge Leo Malone said he would grant free legal aid for the purpose of yesterday’s proceedings and that the matter could be revisited tomorrow at Cork District Court. In the meantime the judge ordered Mr O’Flynn to provide details of his bank accounts to Det Sgt Denis Lynch.
Mr O’Flynn was sworn in to give evidence on his legal aid application and he was cross-examined by Inspector Bill Duane.
“Do you own a house?” the inspector asked. “My wife owns a house, I don’t,” he replied.
“Do you have property abroad?” he was asked, and replied: “No, I don’t.”
“Do you have a job?” the inspector asked. “I was self-employed until recently,” said Mr O’Flynn.
“Do you have savings?” he was asked, and replied: “I don’t have savings.”
“How many properties have you got?” he was asked, and replied: “Zero properties.”
Mr Cuddigan said the defendant had asked certain questions four times and the solicitor said: “It is a thin line between legitimate questioning and harassment.”
Insp Duane submitted that it was only right that the State would outline its belief that the defendant had assets. Mr Cuddigan said the courts dealt in facts and not in beliefs.
Judge Malone ordered that the defendant give details of his bank accounts to Det Sgt Lynch in furtherance of his application for free legal aid.
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