Gerry Hutch told Jonathan Dowdall he was ‘one of the team’ that shot David Byrne, trial hears
– 7h ago
18th October 2022
GERARD ‘THE MONK’ Hutch told former Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall that he was “one of the team” that murdered Kinahan gang member David Byrne at the Regency Hotel in 2016, the Special Criminal Court heard today.
It was during the opening of the trial of Hutch and two other men at the non-jury court today that Sean Gillane SC, prosecuting, said that Hutch had contacted Jonathan Dowdall and arranged to meet him in a carpark in Whitehall days after the shooting to discuss a photograph of a man in a wig and another man wearing a flat cap, which had appeared in the Sunday World newspaper.
The prosecution say that Hutch was described as being “very worked up and edgy” as both men discussed the photograph that had been published.
“Jonathan Dowdall said Mr Hutch said that they had carried out the murder and that he had been one of the team that shot Mr Byrne at the Regency,” said Gillane.
It is the prosecution case, Gillane said, that “this deliberate killing” was carried out “without restraint” by a group of people, of whom Hutch was one.
The Special Criminal Court was also told today that Hutch had asked Dowdall to arrange a meeting with provisional republicans due to the escalation of the Hutch/Kinahan feud. Dowdall drove Hutch to meet the republicans on 20 February.
The three-judge court is also to hear evidence, Gillane said, that Dowdall and Hutch drove north to a meeting in Strabane on 7 March and that their vehicle was the subject of surveillance.
Dowdall and Hutch’s conversation was recorded and matters discussed included the existence of the feud with the Kinahan group, the personnel and “efforts to make peace or agree a ceasefire”, said Gillane.
Hutch was captured on the recording saying: “It’s hard to get involved where the Kinahan’s are concerned, cause if it doesn’t work, the messenger gets it”. Hutch was also recorded as saying that he “was not going to show a weak hand”, the court heard.
Gillane said the Special Criminal Court will also hear that in the course of this conversation “explicit references” were made to “three yokes” and giving them “as a present” to the republicans in the north, which he said referred to the assault rifles used in the Regency Hotel attack.
The court will also hear, said counsel, that Dowdall gave Hutch a keycard to a room at the Regency Hotel the night before the murder, which was used by one of the six gunman involved in the attack.
Hutch (59), last of The Paddocks, Clontarf, Dublin 3, is charged with murdering Kinahan gang member David Byrne (34) during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel on the Swords Road, Whitehall, Dublin 9, on 5 February 2016.
Arraigned on the charge before the non-jury Special Criminal Court today, the 59-year-old pleaded not guilty to the single count on the indictment and the trial is underway at the non-jury court today.
Hutch was present in court for the opening of the case.
Hutch’s two co-accused – Paul Murphy (59), of Cherry Avenue, Swords, Co Dublin and Jason Bonney (50), of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock, Dublin 13 were also arraigned before the non-jury court today and are standing trial alongside Hutch.
They both pleaded not 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 providing access to individual motor vehicles to that criminal organisation or its members, within the State on 5 February 2016.
Byrne, from Crumlin, was shot dead at the hotel in Swords, Co Dublin, on 5 February 2016 after five men, three disguised as armed gardaí in tactical clothing, stormed the building, which was hosting a boxing weigh-in at the time. The victim was shot by two of the tactical assailants and further rounds were delivered to his head and body.
Byrne’s cause of death was six gunshot wounds including injuries to his head, face, abdomen and thighs.
A significant security operation took place at the Criminal Courts of Justice building on Parkgate Street today, where members of the Garda Armed Support Unit and Garda Emergency Response Unit were present in the building.
Sadie Byrne, the mother of David Byrne, was in court to hear the opening of the trial on behalf of the State.
Former Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall (44) – a married father of four with an address at Navan Road, Cabra, Dublin 7 – was due to stand trial today for Byrne’s murder alongside his friend Hutch but pleaded guilty in advance of the trial to a lesser charge of facilitating the Hutch gang by making a hotel room available ahead of the murder.
Jonathan Dowdall was jailed by the Special Criminal Court for four years yesterday
for facilitating the Hutch gang in the notorious murder of Kinahan Cartel member David Byrne, as part of the first convictions in the long-running investigation into the Regency Hotel shooting.
His father Patrick Dowdall (65), who also pleaded guilty to the same charge, was sentenced to two years imprisonment.
On 28 September this year, Jonathan and Patrick Dowdall, also of Navan Road, Cabra, Dublin 7, both admitted facilitating the murder of Byrne as part of the Hutch-Kinahan feud. The State dropped the murder charge against Jonathan Dowdall on 3 October.
The former Dublin councillor is currently being assessed for the Witness Protection Program after agreeing to testify against his friend and former co-accused Hutch, who is charged with Byrne’s murder.
Both men 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.
The trial continues before Ms Justice Tara Burns, presiding, sitting with Judge Sarah Berkeley and Judge Grainne Malone. It is expected to last 12 weeks.
On 29 September 2021, Hutch appeared before an out-of-hours sitting of the non-jury Special Criminal Court charged with the murder of Byrne.
Hutch was extradited from Spain after his final appeal against extradition to Ireland was rejected by a Spanish Appeals Court on 14 September. He was being held in a Madrid prison.
Hutch has been in custody since being arrested in a restaurant in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol in Spain on 12 August 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.
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