Hutch no go | 

Gerry Hutch trial told ‘no further steps’ will be taken over alleged jailhouse confession

“The curious matter will have to wait to another date to be resolved,” Mr Hutch's barrister Brendan Grehan SC said.

Gerry Hutch is on trial accused of the murder of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel

Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch

David Byrne

Andrew PhelanSunday World

PROSECUTORS in the Regency murder trial are taking “no further steps” over a “curious development” in the case that emerged this week.

The nature of the development was not disclosed to the Special Criminal Court but murder accused Gerard Hutch’s defence lawyer said it would “have to wait to another day to be resolved.”

The Sunday World revealed on Wednesday that a prisoner had come forward and made a jailhouse confession claiming that he was the Regency Hotel shooter – not Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch.

The inmate, who is from Dublin and is serving a sentence for a serious crime, is believed to have the admission directly to a senior prison official.

As the trial resumed yesterday following the Christmas break, the jailhouse confession was referred to – without the details being heard in open court.

The Special Criminal Court was told that the prosecution was making a document available to Gerry ‘the Monk’ Hutch’s defence team.

Sean Gillane SC, prosecuting, informed the court that "a curious development" had arisen which resulted in the "generation of a document" that had been disclosed to the defence.

He said the document primarily concerned Mr Hutch. "That isn't the cause of the delay but the matter has to be looked into," he added.

The Sunday World revealed that the document referred to in court is, in fact, a confession from a convicted criminal which was made to a prison governor.

It is believed the Dublin criminal claimed he was the gunman involved in the Regency Hotel murder.

This man has never previously been considered as a suspect in the murder despite a lengthy and extensive investigation.

Today, Mr Gillane said, “no further steps will be taken on this side of the house."

“The curious matter will have to wait to another date to be resolved,” Mr Hutch's barrister Brendan Grehan SC said.

Ms Justice Tara Burns said: “the court knows nothing about this curious matter.”

Meanwhile, one of Mr Hutch’s co-accused today challenged the admissibility of CCTV evidence in the case, as evidence continued.

David Byrne

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

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 (52) of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock and Paul Murphy (61) of Cherry Avenue, Swords, deny providing cars for the attack team.

The trial entered its 11th week yesterday, three weeks after key witness Jonathan Dowdall finished testifying for the prosecution. Dowdall, a former

Sinn Fein councillor, had also been charged with murder but instead pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of facilitation and turned state's witness. He claimed Mr Hutch had confessed to shooting Mr Byrne.

Bernard Condon SC, for Mr Murphy, challenged the admissibility of CCTV evidence.

Mr Murphy’s Toyota Avensis taxi and Mr Bonney’s BMWX5 jeep are both alleged to have been part of a convoy that parked up at St Vincent’s GAA club grounds near the Regency before the attack and transported the assassination team away afterwards.

Another location the vehicles were allegedly seen at was Buckingham Village in the north inner city.

Mr Condon said there was no evidence that the CCTV system from Buckingham Village was registered with the Data Protection Commissioner, or notice given that recording was in place, as required by the Data Protection Acts.

He also objected to CCTV evidence on privacy grounds, referring to the Constitution, the EU rights charter and the European Convention on Human Rights.

There was a “reasonable expectation of privacy in a public place,” he said.

Mr Gillane, responding, said the arguments put forward had not been accepted by other courts. There was a “high Constitutional imperative” on gardai to seize evidence and the Supreme Court had been critical of any suggestion that gardai could “simply ignore this kind of material.”

Private individuals were entitled to have CCTV systems for their own purposes, and Mr Murphy was entitled to invoke his own rights if he thought they had been infringed.

“That doesn’t mean the court should deprive itself of evidence,” he said.

Almost all the CCTV was from public places where the expectation of privacy was “somewhat attenuated.”

In almost all the clips it was nearly impossible to identify individuals without further evidence, and in Buckingham Village, no individuals were identifiable at all, he said.

Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch

“The evidence I’m seeking to put before the court is manifestly relevant, capable of being material and capable of being probative,” he said. John Fitzgerald SC, for Mr Bonney, asked for two CCTV clips recorded on February 5, 2016 to be played to the court.

One was from outside Mr Bonney’s Portmarnock home that day, showing a flat back truck reversing towards the house at 11.38am before leaving the estate.

The other was at Trinity Credit Union on Newbrook Road, Donaghmede, where Mr Fitzgerald said a truck was seen at 1.53pm and 2.31pm.

The court has previously heard David Byrne was shot dead at 2.32pm.

Insp Padraig Boyce gave evidence of a search carried out at Jonathan Dowdall’s Navan Road home in 2016. He said a warrant was obtained from the district court on March 4, that year, when it was suspected that Dowdall was storing firearms and explosives on behalf of the IRA.

The court heard Shane Rowan, an IRA member was intercepted driving north in Co Meath on March 9 with three AK47s that had been used in the Regency attack.

Following Rowan’s arrest, Insp Boyce went to Dowdall’s home to execute the search warrant.

A phone was seized, he said.

Mr Hutch’s barrister Brendan Grehan SC, cross-examining Insp Boyce, said the seizure of the AK47s and the immediate search of Dowdall’s home as soon as possible after “appears to be very much a co-ordinated operation.”

Rowan was stopped at 7.12pm and gardai “went in the door” at Dowdall’s home 70 minutes later, at 8.22pm. Insp Boyce agreed that gardai “went as fast as they could.”

The court heard gardai had believed that Dowdall and his father Patrick were members of the IRA and that the house might be used to “construct and store explosives and store firearms on behalf of the IRA.”

All that was actually found were the phone and a USB stick containing a video of Dowdall torturing a man, an unrelated offence.

This was found “hidden” in a kitchen press, while the phone was seized from a bedroom.

Phone evidence is expected to be heard tomorrow, when the court is also expected to rule on the admissibility of the CCTV footage.

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