Inside strict ring of steel security plan for Jonathan Dowdall’s court appearance with armed cops patrolling perimeter
A STRICT security plan is in place for the appearance of former Sinn Fein councillor Jonathan Dowdall in the Special Criminal Court.
Armed gardai have been patrolling the perimeter of the building since the high-profile murder trial began six weeks ago, but the authorities are expected to closely screen every person entering when Dowdall, who has turned State witness, appears.
The exact security plan, arranged between the Gardai, the Prison Service and the Court Service, will remain a closely-guarded secret.
Dowdall will be ferried from Limerick Prison, where he’s serving his four-year term on the same landing as his father Patrick, who was caged for two years for the same offence.
Dowdall, who has been assessed for the Witness Protection Programme, along with his family, was originally charged with the murder of Byrne but the DPP accepted a guilty plea to the charge of facilitating after he agreed to make a statement implicating Hutch in the murder and give evidence for the Prosecution against him.
A source said: “This will be one of the most high-profile court appearances that court has ever seen so no chances will be taken.
“He is a marked man so has to be protected at all costs.”
It’s anticipated that he could be in the witness box for a number of days and will face a stern cross-examination from Hutch’s lawyer Brendan Grehan SC.
Secret recordings of conversations between Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch and Jonathan Dowdall have been played in court as part of the Regency Hotel shooting trial.
During the recordings, Dowdall is heard criticising Mary Lou McDonald for not going to the funeral of Eddie Hutch – the Monk’s brother who was shot dead as part of the Kinahan Hutch feud.
Dowdall also made allegations that the Sinn Fein leader used the Hutch family for money and votes.
Mary Lou McDonald denied the claims made in the recording and said she has no links to the Monk.
She further added that she has “zero tolerance” for criminality and feels “very strongly” on the issue.