O’Flynn defamation win to finance legal defence

The Sun newspaper, it was claimed yesterday, will effectively pay for legal representation for former Fianna Fáil councillor Gary O’Flynn on charges of soliciting a person to murder a detective garda and two other people.

Mr O’Flynn, of Hayfield Drive, Castle Court, Whitechurch, Co Cork, was represented in Cork District Court yesterday by solicitor Joseph Cuddigan. He had been appearing for Mr O’Flynn on free legal aid.

Mr Cuddigan said an application for further legal representation at the district court was withdrawn by Mr O’Flynn as a result of the recent settlement of a defamation action taken by Mr O’Flynn against The Sun.

“Matters have moved on,” said Mr Cuddigan. “The Sun newspaper have taken over the funding of Mr O’Flynn’s legal representation as a result of a successful defamation action. I am handing in the details of the settlement.”

Mr Cuddigan said an application for legal aid would not arise again at district court level as a result of what he called “this new asset”, namely the undisclosed amount for which Mr O’Flynn’s defamation action was settled.

He said that legal aid would become an issue again if the case proceeds to trial at the Central Criminal Court.

Garda Inspector John Deasy yesterday called Garda Inspector Colm Noonan as a witness to testify on what gardaí believed were Mr O’Flynn’s assets at the time he first applied for free legal aid, a month ago.

Mr Cuddigan objected to the detective’s evidence being given until the defence had an opportunity to examine the documents on which Insp Noonan would be relying on.

Judge Leo Malone put back until May 1, for further legal argument, the issue of free legal aid, which was applied for and granted last month. He also noted the application for legal aid was withdrawn yesterday. As a result, legal aid for yesterday’s hearing and forthcoming court appearances was revoked.

Mr O’Flynn, who got bail at the High Court, was remanded on bail yesterday to appear in Cork District Court again on May 1.

The charges against him state that on a date between Oct 1, 2012 and Feb 15 2013, inclusive, at Mallow Rd, Cork, he did solicit a named person to murder Patrick Sweeney, and two similar charges whereby he allegedly solicited the same named person to murder George Ross and Detective Garda Mary Skehan.

Insp Deasy said directions were awaited from the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mr Cuddigan argued that the only possible venue for soliciting someone to commit murder was the Central Criminal Court and there could not be any directions awaited on that issue.

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