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DPP could bring charges against other suspects for Regency attack after Gerry Hutch trial verdict in April

In particular they will be watching the court’s assessment of state witness, former Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall, who testified against Mr Hutch before Christmas.

Gerry Hutch


The DPP is contemplating bringing charges against a number of other people suspected to have been involved in the Regency Hotel attack.

However, the State prosecutor is unlikely to make any further moves until the Special Criminal delivers its verdict in the prosecution of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch and two other men in April.

The non-jury court yesterday adjourned on the 52nd day of the trial, after hearing closing speeches from defence counsel representing Mr Hutch’s co-accused Jason Bonney (52) and Paul Murphy (61).

The three judges will deliver their verdicts in just over 12 weeks’ time on April 17, which is five days after Mr Hutch’s 60th birthday.

He denies a charge of murdering drug dealer David Byrne when a five-man hit team, three of whom were dressed as gardaí and armed with AK-47s, attacked a weigh-in at the hotel on February 5, 2016.

Mr Bonney and Mr Murphy have pleaded not guilty to participating or contributing to the murder of David Byrne by providing getaway vehicles for the killer gang.

The verdicts will be anxiously awaited by investigating gardaí and the DPP, before decisions are made on whether to proceed with charges against other individuals suspected of being involved in the attack.

In particular they will be watching the court’s assessment of state witness, former Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall, who testified against Mr Hutch before Christmas.

Security sources revealed that the verdict will be “closely scrutinised”, especially with regard to Dowdall’s credibility. A decision will then be made if he is to testify in future trials of alleged gang members.

Ms Justice Tara Burns said yesterday it had been a “long and difficult trial” before remanding Mr Hutch in custody and his two co-accused on continuing bail.

Earlier, barristers for co-defendants, Mr Bonney and Mr Murphy, gave their closing speeches.

A BMW X5 SUV linked to Mr Bonney and Mr Murphy’s Toyota Avensis taxi are both alleged to have been part of a convoy that parked up at GAA grounds near the Regency Hotel before the attack and transported the assassination team away afterwards.

The Regency Hotel where David Byrne was shot dead in February 2016. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/

The prosecution alleges Mr Murphy’s Toyota Avensis taxi and Mr Bonney’s BMWX5 were first seen at Buckingham Village in the north inner city, which the prosecution says became “operative” for the attack that morning.

In his closing speech on behalf of Mr Bonney, John Fitzgerald SC said the prosecution’s case against his client was a “thin” and “alarmingly light” one with a number of holes.

He said the use of the SUV was “more complicated” than the prosecution stated and it was not owned by him but registered to his father William Bonney’s dormant company.

In garda interview, Mr Bonney had identified himself as having been at the SUV at his home in Portmarnock and accepted that on the day he was driving between there and his other house at Newbrook Avenue, Donaghmede, which he was renovating.

It was the defence case that he did not drive south of Newbrook Avenue, after which his father was driving.

The court heard when gardaí interviewed Mr Bonney, he did not tell them his father William was driving the SUV on the day. Mr Fitzgerald said it was a reasonable inference that the reason for this was he wanted to protect his father.

Mr Bonney had been given a garda information notice about a threat on his life at the time. He told gardaí he would tell the truth “up to the point that it puts my life or my family’s lives in danger”.

“There was an enormous climate of fear surrounding the entire case,” Mr Fitzgerald said. “He had every reason not to point the finger at his father.”

There had been no obligation on Mr Bonney to either speak to the gardaí or provide alibi witnesses, Mr Fitzgerald said.

His account to gardaí as it related to Mr Bonney himself had stood the test of time, Mr Fitzgerald said. “There are ample grounds on which the court can consider that the State has not discharged its weighty responsibility in this case,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

Bernard Condon SC, for Mr Murphy said the prosecution in closing had made “broad brush assertions” but these were not evidence, and when a forensic analysis of the case was looked at, “the assertions waft away”.

It was a case of circumstantial evidence, he said and the links were not proved.

The prosecution was offering guilt by association or guilt by suspicion as being enough, he said.

Prosecutor Fiona Murphy SC had said Buckingham Village was the “centre of everything” in the case but Mr Condon said this was based on an invitation to make inferences rather than detail.

Mr Condon said he did not accept that the car seen on CCTV at a number of locations in north Dublin on the day of the murder was Mr Murphy’s taxi and said identifying features suggested by the prosecution were not unique.

He did not accept that Mr Murphy’s taxi was seen following a BMW at the Beachcomber pub, or that it was Mr Bonney’s BMW.

He “absolutely rejected” a prosecution claim that the two cars were seen travelling “cheek by jowl”. There was no evidence any silver Avensis taxi parked up at Donnycarney Church, he said.

In the footage where the six attackers allegedly ran down a lane to the waiting cars, there is no vehicle consistent with Mr Murphy’s car.

“That is a huge gap in the evidence,” Mr Condon said.

“The blanks cannot be filled by supposition. The blanks cannot be filled by suspicion.”

The CCTV evidence did not come up to the standard necessary and was of poor quality, he said.

Mr Condon also argued that there was no specific evidence that Mr Murphy assisted the Hutch Criminal Organisation, as required by the charge against him. The court had only heard he had contact with Eddie and Patsy Hutch, with no evidence they were members of the organised crime gang.

“The proper verdict in Paul Murphy’s case is not guilty and that is what I ask the court to do,” Mr Condon concluded.

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