Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch in bid to force State to pay €400,000 legal fees he forked out to win murder case
• 1h ago
MARKETS TODAY THE MONK.
Gerry “The Monk” Hutch will today launch a bid to force the State to pay him up to €400,000 that he had agreed to fork out of his own pocket to win his murder case.
Legal sources have told the Irish Mirror that Mr Hutch, who was acquitted last month of the murder of Kinahan associate David Byrne, has a legal bill of hundreds of thousands of euro from his 52-day trial and now wants the taxpayer to foot the bill.
He will today have his claim for costs mentioned by his barrister Brendan Grehan SC at the Special Criminal Court – the same court that acquitted him three weeks ago today of the February 5, 2016 murder.
“It’s a huge amount of money but he is entitled to seek his costs because he in effect won his case when the court acquitted him,” a source said last night. “Only his legal team knows the exact figure but a trial at the Special is not cheap.
“A conservative estimate would be around €250,000 but it is more likely to be up to the €400,000 mark.”
Murder accused usually have their fees paid by the State but Mr Hutch, 60, never made an application for legal aid.
That means he had to come to his own arrangement when he was extradited from Spain to Ireland in September 2021 and brought to court to be charged with the murder of 34-year-old Byrne at the Regency Airport Hotel.
Nor did Mr Hutch – who consistently denied the murder of Byrne – apply for legal aid at any stage in the almost 13 months between being charged and the trial starting in mid-October last year.
His legal team will have sent him a so-called Section 150 letter, informing him of the expected costs in the case but that figure is known only to them and him.
However, sources have also told us that the convention is that lawyers defending a client at the Special Criminal Court are entitled to the same fees given to barristers at the Central Criminal Court.
That includes a €10,000 down payment, or brief fee, to senior counsel as well as a payment of around €4,000 for every day which is more than €200,000 alone.
But that does not include solicitors’ fees, including the mountain of work and research they had to carry out before the trial.
Sources said that included preparing legal defences and also challenges against State evidence such as the use of recordings from a bug planted in witness Jonathan Dowdall’s jeep by members of the Garda National Surveillance Unit.
A well-wisher shakes the hand of Gerry Hutch after he is cleared of murder© Mick O’Neill
It also included a full dive into 44-year-old convicted criminal Jonathan Dowdall’s history, such as how many times he met IRA killer Pearse McAuley in prison.
Dowdall claimed he only visited him a few times but Brendan Grehan was able to produce logs that showed he went into Roscommon’s Castlerea Prison to see him 14 times.
One insider said: “Brendan Grehan has a great reputation and should be paid the proper rate, there is no doubt about that.
“He quite frankly played a blinder and his defence of Mr Hutch was stunning.
“Mr Hutch never applied for legal aid so the costs are all on his shoulders. But because he was acquitted, in other words his defence won, he is entitled to apply for his costs afterwards.”
The three-judge Special Criminal Court, led by presiding Judge Ms Justice Tara Burns, now has to decide if Mr Hutch should get his costs.
Although that is a matter for the judges, legal experts told us that it was likely they would award him his costs. If that is the case, Mr Hutch’s legal team will then ask for the office of the DPP to pay a certain amount.
If that office thinks the bill is too high, it can ask an independent judge to make a decision.
But, whatever the amount, it will be on the taxpayer to find the cash.
Meanwhile, today is also D-Day for the two men who were convicted as part of the Regency probe on the same day that Mr Hutch was acquitted.
Paul Murphy, 61, of Cherry Avenue, Swords, Co Dublin and Jason Bonney, 52, of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock, Dublin, were each found guilty of the charge of participating in or contributing to the murder of Mr Byrne by providing the killer gang access to motor vehicles on February 5, 2016.
Each man had denied the charge, but the court convicted them. They face a prison term of up to 15 years.
Bonney was found guilty of facilitating the murder of David Byrne by using his black BMW X5 to pick up one of the hit team, Kevin “Flat Cap” Murray, at St Vincent’s GAA club, following the shooting on February 5, 2016.
In his defence he had tried to claim that his now deceased father Willie drove the BMW X5 that day and not him.
Ms Justice Tara Burns said that the court was “lied to in the most malevolent manner” when it came to these claims.