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Gerry Hutch said Kinahans want to be the ‘biggest gang in Europe’, in bugged Dowdall conversation

As they discussed the Kinahans making ‘big money’, Hutch said ‘I don’t want f**king hundreds of millions’

Andrew PhelanSunday World

The Kinahans want to be the “biggest gang in Europe” and with them it’s “not just the money, it’s the bleedin power”, Regency murder accused Gerard "The Monk" Hutch said.

He was discussing the rival gang with ex Sinn Fein councillor Jonathan Dowdall when their conversation was bugged by gardai.

In the tapes, being played at the Special Criminal Court today, Mr Hutch was also heard to say he thought the gardai would “try all their avenues” but “I don’t think they have that much to go on.”

Dowdall was driving Mr Hutch to Northern Ireland for an alleged meeting with republicans in the aftermath of the Regency Hotel shooting when their conversation was secretly recorded by a garda audio device.

The non-jury court continued to hear the recording for a third day today in the trial of Mr Hutch and two other men over the gangland killing of David Byrne.

Mr Hutch is charged with murdering Mr Byrne who was shot dead at the Regency on February 5, 2016.

Two other men, Jason Bonney and Paul Murphy are accused of helping the criminal organisation responsible by providing cars used to drive the assailants away after the shooting.

Jason Bonney

Mr Byrne (33), a Kinahan gang member, was killed when three assault rifle-wielding masked raiders, disguised as ERU gardai, stormed the Regency in north Dublin along with a gunman dressed as a woman in a blonde wig, and another armed man in a flat cap.

The attack on a boxing weigh-in event fuelled a bloody feud between the Kinahan and Hutch gangs.

Mr Hutch (59), of The Paddocks, Clontarf, Dublin, Mr Murphy (61) of Cherry Avenue, Swords and Mr Bonney (51) of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock, deny the charges against them.

Jonathan Dowdall had also been accused of murder, but before the trial started, he instead admitted facilitating Mr Byrne’s killing by booking a hotel room for the perpetrators.

The court has heard when he drove Mr Hutch north on March 7, 2016, covert tracking and audio devices had been deployed on Dowdall’s Toyota Land Cruiser jeep by the garda National Surveillance Unit.

The prosecution is seeking to use in evidence a 10-hour recording of conversations from that journey. The admissibility of the evidence is being challenged by Mr Hutch’s defence.

Today, the court heard Jonathan Dowdall ask Mr Hutch “how hard do you think they would push to get to the bottom of that?”

He told Mr Hutch he was talking about “the cops.”

“They will try all their avenues,” Mr Hutch replied. “I don’t think they have that much to go on.”

He went on to say “I don’t f**king know to tell you the truth.”

They discussed the Kinahans and Dowdall asked “how did they get so big, so strong?”

Mr Hutch said they used “the best of the young fellas."

Dowdall said they were “blinded by greed.”

“It’s not just the money, it’s the bleedin power as well,” Mr Hutch said.

“With the Kinahans it’s the power yeah,” Dowdall agreed.

“They want to be the biggest gang in Europe, the Columbians and all would come to them,” Mr Hutch said.

“I don’t think any country would let them in now, do you? I’d say any country they go to in Europe they’ll be scourged in till they leave.”

As they discussed the Kinahans making “big money”, Hutch said “I don’t want f**king hundreds of millions.”

Later, Dowdall said “all the garda seem to want outta this is their bleedin sub machine guns back.”

“Yeah, their overtime,” he said.

They continued to discuss guns and Mr Hutch said “them sub machine guns, uzis and all that… they’re lethal, they’re no good.”

Dowdall said those were the ones the gardai wanted back.

“There’s no controlling them Uzis is there,” Dowdall said. “They just spray all over the kip.”

Earlier this week, the court heard Mr Hutch and Dowdall discussing the involvement of northern republicans in brokering a ceasefire and peace deal with the feuding Kinahans.

“Will Kinahan meet them?” Dowdall was heard asking on the recording this morning, and Mr Hutch replied: “I’d say he will, I’d say he’ll met them in London.”

Mr Hutch remarked on them playing “both sides,” to which Dowdall repeatedly said “they won’t do that Gerard” and they would “f**k too many people over.”

“I told them, I said I can’t wait for this election, I hope the Shinners take over and set up their own hit squad,” Mr Hutch said later.

David Byrne

Earlier, Detective Garda Janice Byrne gave evidence of producing a transcript from the audio recording. She said she was called to a meeting with the head of the National Surveillance Unit Det Supt William Johnson in March 2016. She was made aware of the March 7, 2016 recording from Dowdall’s jeep and Mr Hutch and Dowdall were identified to her as the voices on it.

The recording was given to her by a member of the National Surveillance Unit. Five weeks later, in April Det Supt Johnson made her aware of other recordings from February 25, 26 and 27, 2016 and March 19, 2016 and also transcribed those.

She was satisfied that the two male voices on the March 7 recording were the same people from beginning to end and she could distinguish between them.

In cross-examination Brendan Grehan SC, for Mr Hutch, asked her if Supt Johnson “told you whose voices he believed were on the tapes.”

“I was made aware of the two people who were in the vehicle,” she said.

She said there was a younger voice who referred to the other person as Gerard from very early on.

“Repeatedly,” Mr Grehan said.

Det Gda Byrne said she was then able to distinguish them.

Mr Grehan said despite a few minor discrepancies, she had accurately captured who was hwo. She confirmed that at times when it was difficult to hear, she was able to go back and re-listen.

Other recordings had other people including Dowdall’s wife, his father and Patsy Hutch identified as being on them at different times.

The court heard there had been a total of 420 hours of audio recordings from the jeep.

Previously on the tapes, Mr Hutch was heard speaking of throwing “these three yokes up there” as a “present”, which the prosecution alleged refers to the assault rifles used in the Regency shooting being given to republicans.

“Twelve months time, there’s two RUC men dead there and them things are ballistically traced,” Mr Hutch said, to which Dowdall replied: “they’re gonna blame them on the Regency.”

Mr Hutch said “any smart copper would be saying it’s a joint yoke.”

In his admissibility challenge, Mr Grehan maintains that for eight hours of the recording, the jeep was outside the jurisdiction, where any surveillance by gardai is unlawful.

Before the recording was played, Det Supt Eugene Lynch gave evidence of some of the records of the tracking device that had been on Dowdall’s jeep said on March 7, 2016, the date of the audio recording. That day, the jeep entered the North at the Carrickdale at 3.12pm, crossing back into th Republic at 10.50pm at Aughnacloy on the Tyrone/ Monaghan border.

The court will rule on admissibility of the audio evidence after hearing legal submissions.

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

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