‘Any person’s name mentioned in this court is another set of enemies’, Dowdall tells Hutch trial
• Yesterday 20:29
Jonathan Dowdall has told a court that his family is being terrorised while he gives evidence in the trial of Gerry “The Monk” Hutch.
‘Any person’s name mentioned in this court is another set of enemies’, Dowdall tells Hutch trial© Provided by Irish Examiner
Addressing Hutch’s barrister, Dowdall said that he was questioning him in a way to “keep him happy over there”, and said that his client was “terrorising my family”.
“I’d no enemies before this, any person’s name mentioned in this court is another set of enemies,” the former Sinn Féin councillor said.
He told the court that if his enemies keep increasing, “I can’t keep doing this”.
The high-profile trial is continuing over the murder of David Byrne, 33, at a crowded boxing weigh-in event on February 5, 2016 in one of the first deadly attacks of the Hutch-Kinahan gangland feud.
Hutch, from the Paddocks, Clontarf, has denied the charge of murder.
Dowdall, 44, who was to stand trial for murder, is serving a four-year prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to facilitating the murder of Mr Byrne.
His father Patrick Dowdall, aged 65 with the same address on the Navan Road, also admitted to assisting a criminal gang to commit the murder and was sentenced to two years.
This is in relation to the booking of a room at the Regency hotel the night before the fatal attack that was used by one of the gunmen, identified to the court previously as Kevin “Flat Cap” Murray.
Hutch’s legal team has played videos of gardaí interviewing Dowdall three times in May 2016 in the wake of the Regency shooting.
During the interviews, Dowdall is heard saying that he had no involvement in the Regency “in any shape or form” and that he had not been at the Regency hotel in “years”.
The defence has been cross-examining Dowdall over two days on what he had told gardaí at the time.
Dowdall told the court on Friday that he did not know then that the Regency hotel room was involved in the murder of David Byrne.
He said he also could not tell gardaí about certain aspects for fear of what would happen to him and his family.
In one clip, Dowdall is seen being given a printed map where he is told a route is marked in bold that goes from Dublin northwards.
Gardaí tell him that his phone and his father’s phone are recorded as pinging off masts “within 40 seconds of each other” on the way towards Lifford in Co Donegal on February 4 2016, the day before the Regency shooting.
“I couldn’t tell you where Lifford is,” he is heard telling gardaí.
When asked if he has ever been to Lifford, Dowdall is heard on the video saying: “I don’t know to be honest.”
“I can’t remember being in Lifford on February 4. I can’t remember.”
When asked why his phone would be in Lifford if he was not, Mr Dowdall told gardaí “maybe my phone got on the bus and went to Lifford”, which prompted Hutch’s co-defendant Jason Bonney to laugh.
In court, Dowdall said that gardaí saw that area as significant as Kevin “Flat Cap” Murray was from there.
“Flat Cap was from that area, and they believed I drove to that area to meet Flat Cap,” he told the court, adding that he did not know him or that he was from the area at the time.
When asked by Hutch’s senior council Brendan Grehan if he was lying to gardaí about Lifford “as a precaution”, he denied this and said that he had used his SatNav to get there.
When asked if he knew what country Lifford was in, Dowdall responds “ah don’t be silly, Mr Grehan”.
Referring to the taped conversations between Hutch and Dowdall, recorded on March 7, Mr Grehan asks Dowdall if it came as a shock to him.
“It would come as a shock to anybody, wouldn’t it?” Dowdall responded.
Mr Grehan said gardaí then started going through the audio with him, but said that Mr Dowdall had become “a no-comment man”.
When Dowdall told the court that he had not seen the garda interviews before now, Mr Grehan said: “I’m mystified by that, that you wouldn’t have wanted to see them. This is the basis on which you were going to be on trial for murder.”
“I was always going to clear it up and that’s what I did,” Dowdall responded.
When asked about an incident at his Uncle Jimmy’s house, which Dowdall is heard discussing with Hutch while travelling to Northern Ireland in a bugged jeep on March 7, Dowdall told the court that what he said was “bravado talk”.
“I’m not going down that road again, I cleared it up the other day, Mr Grehan.”
Earlier on Friday, taped interviews were played showing gardaí asking Dowdall did he bring his father Patrick to the Regency hotel. Dowdall said: “I can’t remember, I’ve no comment on it. Jesus Christ.”
In court, Dowdall said that he was not forthcoming with what he knew because “what I knew would happen then has happened now,” and that the threats were “worse” than he had feared.
Dowdall told the court his children have not attended school since September because the threat level is too high, and that it has affected his daughter’s career.
“The level of pressure that people get under,” he said, adding that it was why no-one testifies.
Mr Grehan responded he would keep asking questions and that he would not be put off from doing his job.
Friday marks Dowdall’s fifth day of giving evidence at the non-jury Special Criminal Court, and the fourth day of cross-examination.
Two other men, Paul Murphy, 59, of Cabra Road, Swords, and Jason Bonney, 50, of Drumnigh Wood in Portmarnock, also pleaded not guilty to lesser charges related to the murder.
The three defendants sat beside each other in the dock, with Mr Hutch seen using a hearing aid.
The trial continues on Monday.