Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch watches from dock as Dowdall takes the stand to begin testifying against him
12th December 2022
Former Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall has taken the stand to give evidence in Gerard “The Monk” Hutch’s trial for the Regency Hotel murder. The ex-politician has begun testifying at the Special Criminal Court.
Accompanied by three gardaí and two prison officers, Dowdall made his way into the packed courtroom this morning through an entrance usually used by juries instead of from the cell area
Dressed in a navy suit and light blue open-necked shirt, he took the seat normally used by a jury foreman and turned to face the three judges as Mr Hutch watched from the dock on the other side of the courtroom.
A senior garda first gave evidence that Dowdall’s evidence is completely separate to any involvement by him in the Witness Protection Programme, for which he is currently being assessed.
The Detective Superintendent said this was “completely independent” and confirmed to Mr Hutch’s lawyer that it was not linked in any way to Mr Dowdall’s “performance in the witness box.”
Dowdall, who is serving a four-year jail sentence for his role in helping the perpetrators of the Regency murder, is testifying after turning state’s witness against Mr Hutch.
The former protege of Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald is currently classified as one of the most under-threat citizens in the country. Security is extremely tight in and around the court this morning.
Legal sources say Dowdall is likely to remain in the witness box from now until next week’s Christmas break.
He is expected to be subjected to intensely robust and rigorous cross-examination.
The 44-year-old had originally been accused of murder but, before the trial began, that charge was withdrawn and he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of facilitation.
Mr Hutch’s defence team will seek to have Dowdall dismissed as untrustworthy and his evidence rendered unreliable when he takes the stand
Mr Hutch (59), of The Paddocks, Clontarf, Dublin, denies killing David Byrne, who was shot dead at the Regency Hotel in Whitehall, Dublin on February 5, 2016.
Mr Byrne (33), a Kinahan gang member, was killed when five gunmen – three disguised as Emergency Response Unit gardaí with assault rifles – stormed the hotel during a boxing weigh-in event.
The attack fuelled a bloody feud between the Kinahan and Hutch crime gangs.
Two other men who are on trial – Jason Bonney (51) of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock, Dublin, and Paul Murphy (61) of Cherry Avenue, Swords, Dublin – deny providing cars for the attack team.
Mr Hutch’s defence team will seek to have Dowdall dismissed as untrustworthy and his evidence rendered unreliable when he takes the stand.
It is expected that a significant amount of the cross-examination will focus on Dowdall’s commentary during conversations with Mr Hutch, which were secretly recorded on garda bugging devices in March, 2016.
Ten hours of the controversial tapes – which the Special Criminal Court ruled to be admissable in the prosecution case against Mr Hutch – were recorded when Dowdall drove Mr Hutch to a meeting with members of the IRA in Northern Ireland.
The purpose of the trip, a month after the Regency Hotel attack, was to seek the IRA’s intervention in the Kinahan/Hutch feud which ultimately claimed 18 lives.