eleventh week | 

‘Final aspects’ of Gerry Hutch murder trial to be heard this week as case resumes

Ms Justice Tara Burns asked if it was anticipated that the trial would conclude in two weeks.

The trial of Gerry Hutch accused of murdering David Byrne at the Regency Hotel resumed

Gerry Hutch

Jonathan Dowdall (front, right) and his father Patrick leaving court

Andrew PhelanSunday World

THE trial of Gerry “The Monk” Hutch for the gangland murder of David Byrne at Dublin’s Regency Hotel has resumed at the Special Criminal Court.

Evidence continued this morning, beginning an eleventh week for the trial which had been suspended for the court’s Christmas break.

It was adjourned for the day after less than half an hour over the unavailability of a garda witness, but prosecutor Sean Gillane said he expected the case would move on to its "final aspects" later this week. Around two more weeks of evidence and legal submissions are due to be heard before the three-judge, non-jury court.

Before the break, prosecution witness Jonathan Dowdall testified against Mr Hutch, spending eight days in evidence.

Mr Hutch (59), of The Paddocks, Clontarf, Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Byrne (32).

The father of three was killed when five raiders, three disguised as ERU gardai with assault rifles along with an armed man in a flat cap and another gunman dressed as a woman stormed the hotel.

Gerry Hutch

The attack at a boxing weigh-in on February 5, 2016 fuelled the Kinahan-Hutch gang feud.

Two other men are also on trial with Mr Hutch. Jason Bonney (51) of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock and Paul Murphy (61) of Cherry Avenue, Swords, deny providing cars for the attack team.

Mr Gillane SC told the judges today was "something of a false start" as only three witnesses were available to give brief evidence. Another garda witness was not available.

Despite today's delay, he said the trial would not lose time overall.

He also said there had been a "curious development" yesterday that resulted in the generation of a document which had been disclosed to Mr Hutch's defence barrister Brendan Grehan SC.

This would have to be looked into and "concerns Mr Grehan's client primarily."

Legal issues around CCTV evidence would be "narrow" and could be completed by lunchtime tomorrow "and we can then move onto the final aspects of the case", Mr Gillane said.

Ms Justice Tara Burns asked if it was anticipated that the trial would conclude in two weeks.

"I hope so," Mr Gillane said, and Mr Grehan said: "we are in broad agreement, subject to matters falling out of the sky."

Matters that arose yesterday were being attended to and "hopefully won't change the estimate," Mr Grehan said.

"I will have some limited cross-examination (of witnesses) to elicit various matters Mr Dowdall said in relation to two specific issues," he continued. "We are endeavouring to deal with that in the most compact manner possible."

He said the court might be able to deal with some of this by way of written statements from the relevant witnesses.

He said the issues would be made as short as possible and he did not want to trouble the court unduly.

Jonathan Dowdall (front, right) and his father Patrick leaving court

Two gardai then gave evidence of harvesting of CCTV footage from two street locations - outside a takeway on Amiens Street in the north city centre on the day of the Regency attack, and Ulster Bank, Phibsborough on February 20, 2016.

There was also brief evidence from an exhibits officer, before Mr Gillane asked the court to reconvene tomorrow.

Last month, Jonathan Dowdall, a former Sinn Fein councillor, testified for the prosecution.

Dowdall had also been charged with Mr Byrne’s murder but before the trial started, he instead pleaded guilty to facilitating the killing, by helping to book a room in the Regency that was used by the attackers.

His murder charge was withdrawn by the prosecution and he turned state’s witness.

Dowdall gave evidence over the course of eight days - including seven days of cross-examination by Mr Hutch's defence. Dowdall alleged that Mr

Hutch met him in a park on February 8, 2016 and confessed that he and another man shot Mr Byrne.

He also alleged that the night before the attack, Mr Hutch was handed the keys for a booked room in the Regency that was used by one of the attackers.

Before Dowdall testified, the court heard a tape of recorded surveillance conversations between him and Mr Hutch as they drove to Northern

Ireland on March 7, 2016 to try to get republican contacts to mediate in the escalating feud with the Kinahans.

The prosecution maintains Mr Hutch is heard on the tape discussing three assault rifles and giving these as a present to republicans.

The court has heard that two days after the pair's trip north, on March 9, 2016, IRA member Shane Rowan was intercepted driving north from

Dublin through Co Meath with three AK-47s that had been used in the Regency attack.

The trial continues tomorrow before Ms Justice Burns, Judge Sarah Berkeley and Judge Grainne Malone.

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