'I'm pretty new here' - Estonian charged with conspiring to murder
An associate of the Hutch family was the alleged target of an Estonian national charged with conspiracy to murder.
Dublin man James Gately was yesterday named in court as the man Imre Arakas (58) had allegedly come to Ireland to kill.
Mr Arakas of Sopruse, Tallinn, Estonia, appeared before a special sitting of Dublin District Court late yesterday afternoon.
He was charged with conspiring, along with others not before the court, to murder Mr Gately at an address in Northern Ireland between Monday, April 3 and Tuesday, April 4.
Mr Arakas was transferred for the hearing from Blanchardstown Garda Station with a massive garda escort.
The convoy included members of the Armed Support Unit.
Giving evidence in the crowded courtroom, Detective Garda Alan Monaghan of the Garda Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB), said Mr Arakas had made no response when charged.
When Judge Grainne Malone asked if Mr Arakas had been offered the opportunity to speak with a solicitor while in garda custody, Det Gda Monaghan said this had been done on numerous occasions but Mr Arakas chose not to speak with a legal representative.
Mr Arakas, wearing a navy T-shirt, black jeans and a bandage on his left arm, addressed the court briefly a number of times during the sitting.
Before the hearing began, the presiding judge asked if he required an interpreter but the garda giving evidence said that Mr Arakas had good English.
Judge Malone then explained court procedure to Mr Arakas, before asking if he would wish to speak to a solicitor.
"Where should I?" he asked, looking around the courtroom.
"No, I don't," he added.
However, after the legal aid scheme was explained to him, he opted to consult with a solicitor.
"Yes, I wish. I'm pretty new here. I don't know where to find (a solicitor)," Mr Arakas told the court.
During a second calling, a solicitor for Mr Arakas told the court the nature of the charge meant he could only apply for bail in the High Court.
Counsel also applied for legal aid to be granted given the serious nature of the charge and that the accused has no means to get a lawyer.
He was remanded in custody in Cloverhill to appear again before Dublin District Court on Wednesday, April 12.
After the hearing, Mr Arakas was taken to the west Dublin remand centre under armed guard.
Mr Arakas was arrested following an operation involving the DOCB, the Special Crime Task Force, the Emergency Response Unit and the Armed Support Unit.
Gardai searched premises in Blakestown, west Dublin on Tuesday morning where Mr Arakas was arrested with two other men.
These individuals have since been released from garda custody while a file is being prepared for the DPP.
The intended target of the alleged murder conspiracy, James Gately, appeared before Dublin District Court last week in relation to dangerous driving offences in May of last year.
The 30-year-old said that his life was under an undisclosed "serious threat" but was subsequently given a two-year driving ban.