Monk Hutch, and the Family Bonds, and Structure? Trial Continues, as the Monk, Sits, in the Dock, Reflecting?

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‘Hutch Criminal Organisation’ emanates from ‘familial bonds’, senior garda tells trial

10th November 2022

THE “HUTCH CRIMINAL Organisation” emanates from “intergenerational familial bonds and close family associations” in Dublin city centre and operates on a patriarchal system of loyalty based on monetary gains, a senior Garda has told the Special Criminal Court.

‘Hutch Criminal Organisation’ emanates from ‘familial bonds’, senior garda tells trial© Sasko Lazarov Photocall Ireland

Detective Superintendent David Gallagher from the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau also revealed that the organisation is “very fluid” and its affiliates can work together, operate independently as well as with other criminal organisations.

The officer told the non-jury court that the Hutch Criminal Organisation is “less hierarchical than some” and has been “galvanised” by the Hutch-Kinahan feud.

It is the first time that evidence has been given in an Irish court about the existence of the “Hutch Criminal Organisation”, its structure and makeup.

Prior to the evidence being admitted, lawyers for Gerard Hutch argued that although it could not be considered by the court as evidence against their client, if it were to go before the court it would be on the public record as “an opinion” for “all time” and would “damage” Hutch.

Defence counsel Brendan Grehan SC, for Hutch, argued that criminal proceedings are not “simply a forum where stuff is put out there” and that “there are always rules against scandalous matters”.

Gerard ‘The Monk’ Hutch (59), last of The Paddocks, Clontarf, Dublin 3, denies the murder of Kinahan Cartel member David Byrne (33) during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel on 5 February, 2016.

Hutch’s two co-accused – Paul Murphy (61), of Cherry Avenue, Swords, Co Dublin and Jason Bonney (51), of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock, Dublin 13 have pleaded not guilty to participating in or contributing to the murder of Mr Byrne by providing access to motor vehicles on 5 February, 2016.

In his opening speech, Sean Gillane SC, prosecuting, said the three-judge court would hear evidence from a detective about the existence of the Kinahan-Hutch feud, who would speak first hand of his knowledge of the Hutch criminal organisation and their involvement in violence for many years.

Gallagher told Gillane today that he has 28 years of service in the force in drugs and serious crime investigations. Since 2016 he has been in charge of investigating national and international crime groups operating in Ireland and abroad.

He served as a detective sergeant in Dublin’s north inner city and was a member of the north Dublin drug unit. The detective said he has acquired a significant breadth of experience, insight and knowledge from holding “front line roles” into organised crime and the associated crimes which accompany that.

Since April 2016, the witness said he has been part of a senior management team with An Garda Síochána tasked with investigating criminal organisations engaged in a feud which was predominantly based in and outside Dublin’s north-inner city as well as internationally. He said it is commonly known as the “Hutch-Kinahan feud” and had resulted in a number of murders and arrests.

Asked about his first-hand knowledge of surveillance operations, Gallagher said he has been involved in international crime investigations and multiple operations involving targeted prevention of murder and the disruption of activities.

Gallagher said he has had first-hand knowledge of confidential information from multiple different sources with regards to organised crime in Ireland including downloads from seized mobile phones, conversations and commentary on seized encrypted devices as well as audio recordings made in investigations.

He said he could confirm that a multitude of investigations had resulted in a number of convictions where persons carrying firearms were intercepted on their way to carry out murders in the feud. He emphasised that 33 persons have been convicted for offences such as conspiracy to murder, directing the activities of a criminal organisation and related firearm charges.

Asked by Gillane if he was in a position to form an opinion of the existence of such a particular organisation, Gallagher said he had significant insight and understanding of a criminal organisation operating both inside and outside this jurisdiction namely the existence of the “Hutch Criminal Organisation”.

The detective said he had “in depth knowledge” of its structure and make up. He described the “Hutch Criminal Organisation” as emanating from “intergenerational familial bonds predominantly from Dublin city centre and close family associations”. He said the organisation was “less hierarchical than others” and that it operated on a patriarchal system of loyalty based on monetary gains.

He added: “It’s a very fluid organisation with participants and affiliates working together at times to commit crimes, at other times they operate independently and also operate with other criminal organisations to commit crimes. Its rules and procedures like those of other organised crime groups are not set in stone”, he added.

In summary, Gallagher said that since the emergence of the Hutch-Kinahan feud in 2015, there had been a “galvanisation” of positions within the Hutch organisation.

Earlier, Gillane outlined that the evidence he proposed to call was not to be taken into account in respect of Hutch. “It is relevant on count three and four for Bonney and Murphy, I don’t propose to lead or ask questions in respect of those accused or express any opinion in respect of those individuals,” he outlined.

Gillane said he would lead evidence in relation to Gallagher’s qualifications and experience, his first-hand knowledge in relation to criminal organisations, his opinion of the existence of a certain criminal organisation and an outline of that criminal organisation.

Defence counsel Brendan Grehan SC, for Hutch, reiterated to the three-judge court that this was not evidence against his client and that he was not concerned about the court being contaminated or prejudiced from hearing what the detective had to say.

Grehan said his concern was a “broader one” and that his client enjoyed the presumption of innocence. “He enjoys it today as much as he enjoyed it yesterday as much as he would enjoy it on the presumption that he walks out of this court as a free man at the end of the trial, the court should keep that at the forefront of its mind,” he submitted.

He said the evidence proposed to be called did not respect Hutch’s presumption of innocence and that on its face it was hearsay and inadmissible opinion evidence. If the evidence was admitted it would be on the public record as “an opinion” for “all time”, which the barrister submitted would “damage” Hutch.

Grehan went on to say it was a “self-evident” proposition that the Regency attack which resulted in Byrne’s murder was conducted by a highly organised crime gang and queried whether it was necessary to call the evidence at all. “Assuming that a witness is to be produced by the prosecution in due course that evidence will be admitted before the court,” he stated.

The lawyer submitted that what ought to be avoided is that the evidence not admissible against Hutch should then be used to “tarnish” him and “follow him around”. ‘It is prejudicial to him in a general sense,” he continued.

He added: “It is unfair to him and unfair in a constitutional way in that his presumption of innocence can be taken away in effect without him being convicted. Once this is said in an open court by a senior Garda it is there to be quoted for all time by the media or anyone commenting on this matter regardless of the outcome of the trial.”

Grehan submitted that there was merit in the court receiving a statement of the proposed evidence of Gallagher in advance.

Ms Justice Tara Burns told Grehan that his issue was really in the “court of public opinion” and that this was not something that the court had to concern itself with. “Your concerns are what might be said in the future and might affect his standing in the community; that is something that courts don’t necessarily engage in,” she said.

The judge suggested that the evidence could be heard in private and asked Grehan if he had addressed his mind to that. “I’m not saying we would go down that road,” she added.

In reply, Grehan said he had not considered that possibility. He said he did not accept that there was nothing that the court could do and that criminal proceedings are not “simply a forum where stuff is put out there”. “There are always rules against scandalous matters,” he added.

In summary, counsel called it an “unusual circumstance” and said it was the broader matter that concerned him. “This will be said in a forum that allows it to be repeated ad nauseum and that this could never be evidence against Mr Hutch,” he continued.

The proposed statement which detailed the particulars of evidence which the prosecution proposed to lead was then handed into court. After rising for a few minutes, Ms Justice Burns reiterated that Mr Hutch was entitled to the presumption of innocence and said the court had no difficulty with the State leading the “very generalised statement” by Det Supt Gallagher.

Grehan said he had taken instructions from his client and his position was that the trial should resemble a trial in an ordinary criminal court and he had no application to make as the defence had previously contended that matters shouldn’t be “shrouded in secrecy”.

It is the prosecution’s case that a silver Ford transit van containing six people left the Regency Hotel after the shooting, including three persons dressed in tactical Garda clothing. The raiders then made good their escape by using a number of parked vehicles at St Vincent’s GAA club.

Murphy’s Toyota Avensis taxi and Mr Bonney’s BMW X5 jeep are both alleged to have been part of a convoy that parked up at St Vincent’s GAA club grounds before the shooting and then transported the assailants after the Ford transit van was abandoned.

Byrne, from Crumlin, was shot dead at the hotel in Whitehall, Dublin 9, after five men, three disguised as armed Gardaí in tactical clothing and carrying AK-47 assault rifles, stormed the building during the attack, 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 died after suffering catastrophic injuries from six gunshots fired from a high-velocity weapon to the head, face, stomach, hand and legs.

The trial continues on Monday before Ms Justice Burns, presiding, sitting with Judge Sarah Berkeley and Judge Grainne Malone.

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