Jonathan Dowdall moans about prison conditions and wants medication for ‘serious spinal issues’
Dowdall has just wrapped up eight days giving evidence in the trial of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch
State witness Jonathan Dowdall has moaned about not getting access to a prison gym – and claims his medication has been restricted.
Word that Dowdall was having issues behind bars first came to light when he took the stand in the Special Criminal Court trial of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch last week.
The court briefly heard that Dowdall had what Defence Counsel Brendan Grehan SC described as a “list of demands” and complaints about his prison life which he later claimed the witness was using to try and “leverage” his position.
That was because the court heard that Dowdall was initially unwilling to come to court two weeks ago – complaining of his ongoing medical issue and a lack of medication.
However the witness did respond to the Defence Counsel for Mr Hutch by saying he had nonetheless attended the trial – despite being in pain and travelling two and a half hours every day from Limerick Prison.
Now this paper has learned that Dowdall’s solicitor is actively engaged with authorities in the Irish Prison Service – requesting that he be given access to medication for his serious spinal issues and spasms he has been experiencing.
Dowdall has also complained to the Governor of Limerick Prison that he hasn’t been given access to the jail’s main gym.
But sources say that prison authorities are only able to give Mr Dowdall medication that he has been prescribed by the jail’s medical team.
There is understood to be an ongoing conversation being had in relation to medication Dowdall is now requesting for his medical issue.
Sources also confirmed that Dowdall is on a 23-hour a day lockup for his own protection – on a restricted landing within the prison.
That means that he gets just one hour a day outside his cell – but he has to remain on the landing, where it is understood there are a number of exercise machines.
His father Patrick Dowdall is understood to be in a cell next to him.
But the high-profile prisoner, who has his meals delivered to his cell, is understood to be insistent that he be given access to the prison’s main gym.
Sources say however that this is impossible – in that the gym is accessed by the main prison population – and Dowdall is considered too high-risk to be allowed to mix with any of them.
All of this is going on after Dowdall has just wrapped up eight days in the witness box at the trial of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch.
Hutch (59) denies murdering Kinahan cartel associate David Byrne in Dublin’s Regency Hotel on February 5, 2016.
But Dowdall, who has turned state witness, alleges that Hutch confessed to him about his involvement in the murder – two or three days after it occured.
The former Sinn Fein councillor, who is serving a four year sentence for facilitating the murder of Byrne by assisting in booking a room for one of the hitmen, says Hutch met him in a park in Whitehall in Dublin and confessed.
Dowdall told the Special Criminal Court that when he met Hutch sometime between 11am and midday, the accused seemed “agitated” and confided in him that “he shot that young lad David Byrne.”
He further alleged that Hutch told him that he and James ‘Mago’ Gately had shot Byrne and that he was upset about it.
The controversial witness was grilled by Defence Counsel Brendan Grehan SC for seven days – during which his reliability was called into question.
Mr Grehan repeatedly pointed out incidents where he said Dowdall was lying – including to gardai.
He also brought up Dowdall’s criminal past – specifically an incident in which he falsely imprisoned a man and waterboarded him – all while getting someone to film the ordeal.
Throughout the seven days Dowdall was insistent that he had served his time for that offence and had apologised for it.
He also was grilled on why it was that he only spoke to gardai about his allegations about Hutch in November of last year – with Mr Grehan putting it to him that he was only giving evidence because a murder charge against him was dropped.
Dowdall was also heavily cross-examined on a number of incriminating things he says on a bugged 10 hour conversation he had with Gerry Hutch while the pair travelled up north to meet republicans to supposedly “stop the feud.”
In the conversation, which was secretly recorded by the Garda National Surveillance Unit (NSU), Dowdall and Hutch talk about the “three yokes” – alleged to be the AK47 rifles used in the Regency, and what should be done with them.
Dowdall also talked about a plot to blow up a mobile home that Kinahan cartel associate Trevor Byrne was linked to.
He was also questioned about an apparent conversation he had with Hutch about circuits and Semtex – all of which the Defence argued was about him making and demonstrating a timer for a bomb.
The witness was challenged further on his suggestions to Hutch that certain people could not be “left loose” and it was put to him that he was looking for people to be “whacked” while the accused was talking about peace talks.
And he finished his cross-examination by doubling down on his claim that the meeting in Whitehall with Hutch really did happen and that he was telling the truth.In all of this Dowdall was insisting that none of it had anything to do with the Regency Hotel.