Major security operation expected again as Gerry Hutch returns to Special Criminal Court
10TH October 2022
GERRY ‘THE MONK’ Hutch is due back before the Special Criminal Court, following a one-week adjournment to allow his defence team to consider additional evidence in his murder trial.
Last week there was a large armed and undercover garda security operation in place around the Criminal Courts of Justice on Dublin’s Parkgate Street, where the non-jury court sits. It is expected that a strong garda presence will be in place at the courts again today
Hutch (59) is accused of the murder of Kinahan gang member David Byrne at the Regency Hotel on the Swords Road, Whitehall, Dublin 9, on February 5, 2016.
David Byrne (34), from Crumlin, was shot dead at the hotel when five men, three disguised as armed gardaí, stormed the building, which was hosting a boxing weigh-in at the time.
Hutch has been in custody since being arrested in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol in Spain on August 12, 2021 by the Guardia Civil. A search for him began in April 2021 after Ireland issued a European Arrest Warrant in connection with the attack on the Regency Hotel.
Dressed in a white shirt, tan trousers and with long grey hair, Hutch, 58, did not address the court during a brief hearing last Monday.
His lawyers told the three-judge court that they have been forced to carry out a “fundamental reappraisal” of their trial strategy after being served with significant new evidence and required time to review it.
Defence counsel Brendan Grehan SC, for Hutch, told the non-jury court that his client has been in custody for over a year and that he was anxious to proceed with his trial.
“He was ready to proceed today, but matters developed late last week and we were served with very significant evidence which has resulted in a fundamental reappraisal of the defence strategy,” he added.
Sean Gillane SC, on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), told the three-judge court that that there had been “some developments” in the Regency hotel trial and that the second and fifth accused men on the indictment had taken a “certain course” and their sentencing had been adjourned.
Murder charge against Dowdall dropped
The court heard that the murder charge against former Dublin City councillor Jonathan Dowdall had been dropped.
Dowdall (44) – a married father of four with an address at Navan Road, Cabra, Dublin 7 – was due to stand trial last week for Byrne’s murder alongside Hutch but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of facilitating the shooting at the Special Criminal Court on 28 September.
Dowdall was in the Special Criminal Court for a sentencing hearing last week alongside his father Patrick Dowdall (65), also of Navan Road, Cabra, Dublin 7, who had also pleaded guilty to facilitating the murder of David Byrne (34).
Jonathan Dowdall and his father Patrick Dowdall pleaded guilty to participating in or contributing to activity intending to or being reckless as to whether such participation or contribution could facilitate the commission of a serious offence by a criminal organisation or any of its members, to wit the murder of David Byrne, by making a room available at the Regency Hotel, Drumcondra, Dublin 9 for that criminal organisation or its members, within the State on 4 February, 2016.
It emerged during the sentencing hearing that Dowdall had given a statement to gardaí with significant information “implicating other people”. It also emerged that the former councillor is willing to be a witness in the Regency hotel murder trial, in which Gerry Hutch is accused.
The court also heard evidence in the sentencing hearing from Detective Sergeant Patrick O’Toole. He told the court that a room was booked in the Regency Hotel a day before the murder. The room was secured using a credit card belonging to a member of the Dowdall family.
At Hutch’s hearing on Monday, Gillane, on behalf of the DPP, told the court that there had been “a further development” in the service of additional evidence to the defence and that it was proper “for the case to go back to next Monday”.
Defence counsel Brendan Grehan SC, for Hutch, said his legal team had written to the State looking “for a number of items” and that he suspected there would be a substantial amount of further material needed.
The defence counsel asked for the matter to go back one week “to see where the parties are at in terms of disclosure” and said he hoped that today he would be able to indicate a date for the trial to commence.
Gillane confirmed to the three-judge court that the additional evidence had been served and what remained outstanding was disclosure.
Ms Justice Tara Burns, presiding, said the Special Criminal Court was “fairly fully booked” for court dates and if the trial went back it would be for a fairly significant time.
Defence counsel Brendan Grehan said his team were very much aware of the court’s calendar and that Hutch was also in custody. However he said he did not anticipate the trial to be in a position to start properly this week.
“The earliest we are talking about is two weeks from today,” he said.
Ms Justice Burns, presiding, sitting with Judge Sarah Berkeley and Judge Grainne Malone granted the request to adjourn the trial for a week but noted that it was unlikely to start today.
Hutch was remanded in custody. He has not yet been arraigned.
Hutch’s two co-accused – Paul Murphy (59), of Cherry Avenue, Swords, Co Dublin and Jason Bonney (50), of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock, Dublin 13 – are both charged with participating in or contributing to activity intending to or being reckless as to whether such participation or contribution could facilitate the commission of a serious offence by a criminal organisation or any of its members, to wit the murder of David Byrne, by providing access to individual motor vehicles to that criminal organisation or its members, within the State on February 5, 2016.