Hutch lawyers tell court Jonathan Dowdall had ‘DPP effectively over a barrel’ after he agreed to Regency tell all
- Published: 23:04, 7 Dec 2022
- Updated: 23:04, 7 Dec 2022
STATE witness Jonathan Dowdall “had the DPP effectively over a barrel” when he agreed to tell all on the Regency attack, the Special Criminal Court heard.
And Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch’s lawyer, Brendan Grehan SC, says the ex-Sinn Fein Cllr’s “incredibly powerful incentive” to give evidence against his client has tainted his chances of receiving a fair trial.
Mr Grehan has argued that Dowdall only agreed to testify against Hutch after his Regency murder charge was dropped.
He said: “It’s clear there was a quid pro quo in relation to the murder charge being dropped and Jonathan Dowdall providing a witness statement in the form it could be used in court and him giving evidence. That’s the inescapable conclusion you can draw from events.”
And he said of Dowdall: “The accused had placed Gardai and the prosecution in a position and played a very powerful hand in the murder charge being dropped in return for giving evidence.
“There was careful choreography that only after the murder charge was dropped that he committed to making a statement. He had an incredibly powerful incentive in making a statement against Gerard Hutch.
“It tainted the process that he can’t get a trial in the due course of law if Mr Dowdall is permitted to give evidence.”
Mr Grehan added that Dowdall had the DPP over a barrel in terms of the information he had, but there “isn’t a scintilla of any corroborating evidence”.
He said: “There are two pillars of evidence in terms of handing over the hotel access cards for the room used by Kevin Murray and in relation to an alleged conversation in a park a number of days after with Gerard Hutch where he says he confessed his direct involvement in the murder to him.
“It was confirmed by Det Sgt O’Toole when he gave evidence that not a single note was made in respect of that.”
He added: “Jonathan Dowdall had the DPP effectively over a barrel in terms of the intelligence or information that was to be provided by him.
“Matters were dangled in front of the Gardai in relation to what had transpired at the Regency and there has to be some scrutiny of this before he’s permitted to give evidence.”
Mr Grehan wants the court to exclude Dowdall’s evidence based on a previous ruling. Judge Tara Burns asked what the situation was with Dowdall as it was her understanding he had to be in the Witness Security Programme before giving evidence.
Prosecutor Sean Gillane replied: “I can just confirm that he is currently in a prison within the State.”
Judge Burns said it was the court’s plan to deliver the ruling on this matter at 1.30pm today and if they ruled in favour of Dowdall taking the stand then he could appear at 2pm. But she that now seems “highly unlikely” and accepted they might not hear from him before Christmas.
Hutch, 59, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of David Byrne at the Regency on February 5, 2016. Co-accused Paul Murphy, 61, of Swords, Dublin and Jason Bonney, 51, of Portmarnock, Dublin, pleaded not guilty to related raps.