Dowdall Thugs to be Sentenced, Today, While the Trial for Murder, against Gerry Hutch, Begins Tomorrow Morning. This would Remind, people, of Elliot Ness and Al Capone, back in the Day. Busy Week, for Gardai, Courts, and the Monk? In the Meantime, Spud Murphy, Sleeps, in his Jail Cell?

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Major security plan in place for Jonathan Dowdall sentencing amid ‘very severe’ threat ahead of Gerard Hutch trial

 17th October 2022

Jonathan Dowdall will be brought to court today amid significant armed garda protection to be sentenced for his role in the Regency Hotel murder.

The ex-Sinn Fein councillor and his father Patrick (65) face jail time after admitting they made a hotel room available to the gang involved the day before the fatal shooting on February 5, 2016.

Both men remain under “very severe” threat after the former politician gave a statement to gardaí about his knowledge of the gun attack.

In it he implicated “other person or persons” involved and is expected to give testimony in the murder trial of Gerard ‘The Monk’ Hutch (58) which is due to begin tomorrow.

Dowdall and his father will be brought to court under armed guard in another significant security operation at the Criminal Courts of Justice on Parkgate Street this morning.

This will see extra uniformed gardaí at court as well as members of the Armed Support Unit and Emergency Response Unit.

The pair were flanked by five detectives as they entered and left the courtroom earlier this month.

During that hearing Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, remarked that Jonathan Dowdall would be facing a prison sentence “of some sort”.

He had been due to stand trial for murder but at this stage the State is no longer pursuing that charge.

Defence counsel Michael O’Higgins SC said that the court should consider imposing a suspended sentence on his client, which was met with a gasp from members of Kinahan gang-member David Byrne’s family who were in court.

In recent weeks a document purporting to include excerpts from his statement to gardaí has been shared on social media

In recent weeks a document purporting to include excerpts from his statement to gardaí has been shared on social media

He argued that a court is entitled to impose a suspended sentence if there are exceptional circumstances involved, which counsel said would include a person being entered into witness protection.

Mr O’Higgins added that his client was the “author of his own downfall” and “not a perfect human being” but that he “doesn’t regret telling the truth” to gardaí.

At the previous hearing the non-jury court heard Jonathan Dowdall was being assessed for the Witness Security Programme (WSP).

In recent weeks a document purporting to include excerpts from his statement to gardaí has been shared on social media.

The notes, which gardaí believe were leaked by associates of Hutch, raise questions over the truth of Dowdall’s claims and include specific allegations he is believed to have made against people allegedly involved in the murder.

Under cross-examination in the sentencing hearing Det Sgt Patrick O’Toole said gardaí believed him to be “sincere and genuine” in what he told them.

Evidence was heard of how the father and son travelled to Strabane on the eve of the murder before Patrick Dowdall checked into the Regency Hotel.

The court was also told that his son handed the room card to a “gang member” and that CCTV footage showed Tyrone man Kevin Murray, one of the gunmen, later go into the room.

Murray, who had known IRA connections, was spotted in the hotel lobby the following day holding a gun “a loft” in an attempt to draw attention to himself.

Det Sgt O’Toole accepted “one theory” was that this was done to misdirect the garda inquiry and focus on a northern paramilitary connection to the shooting.

At around 2.30pm on the day of the murder five gunmen entered the hotel while a boxing weigh-in was taking place.

One man, Kinahan associate Byrne, was shot dead “execution style” while attempting to flee.

The trial of ‘The Monk’ is also expected to get underway at the Special Criminal Court tomorrow amid a significant security operation.

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