Security operation | 

Garda op planned as Jonathan Dowdall expected to testify against Gerry Hutch

Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch is due before the Special Criminal Court today charged with the murder of Kinahan associate David Byrne

Armed officers outside the Special Criminal Court, Dublin today© PA

Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch© PA

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald with former councillor Jonathan Dowdall

Robin SchillerIndependent.ie

A security operation is under way in Dublin this morning ahead of one of the most significant murder trials in Irish criminal history, which could face delays.

Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch (58) is due before the Special Criminal Court charged with the murder of Kinahan associate David Byrne at the Regency Hotel on February 5, 2016.

However, sources have warned that the beginning of evidence being heard could be postponed due to the recent disclosure of additional evidence and pre-trial legal arguments that will aim to have certain exhibits excluded.

It is expected that ex-Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall (44) will give testimony against Mr Hutch during the case that is expected to last at least three months.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald with former councillor Jonathan Dowdall

The former politician was also due to stand trial accused of murder but last week was unexpectedly brought to court and admitted to a lesser charge of facilitating the murder, before being escorted away by armed gardaí.

Sources said additional evidence disclosed by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), including new witnesses and statements, would need to be inspected by Mr Hutch and his legal team, which will potentially delay the start of the trial.

Lawyers for the murder accused have also given notice of their intention to have evidence, which they say makes up a “major if not substantial” part of the case against him, ruled inadmissible.

This application is expected to be contested by the State, which could required a hearing prior to the trial starting, and also delay the prosecution case getting under way.

A significant security operation will be in place in different parts of Dublin ahead of today’s court hearing at the Criminal Courts of Justice on Parkgate Street.

The event has been assessed as being ‘high risk’, which includes the standard evaluation of the potential for gunfire, weapons and public order.

Mr Hutch will be escorted to court from Wheatfield Prison under armed guard while plain-clothed detectives from the Emergency Response Unit will be positioned inside the courtroom and in the court precinct.

A security operation is also in place to provide armed guard to Jonathan Dowdall, who is due to be sentenced at the non-jury court this morning along with his father Patrick Dowdall (65) for facilitating the murder of David Byrne.

Armed patrols are being conducted to monitor the homes of senior associates of the Hutch gang following an alert at the home of Jonathan Dowdall last week.

Garda sniffer dogs will carry out a sweep of the court complex to search for explosives and firearms while a team from the Public Order Unit will be deployed to prevent any potential clashes between supporters of Mr Hutch and David Byrne.

Two co-accused, Paul Murphy (59), from Swords, Co Dublin, and Jason Bonney (50) from Portmarnock, Co Dublin, are also due to stand trial charged with providing logistical support to the Regency Hotel murder team.


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