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Gerry Hutch will learn his fate in April as Regency murder trial ends after 13 weeks

Ms Justice Tara Burns said it had been a “long and difficult trial” before remanding Hutch in custody

Gerry Hutch

Gerry Hutch (left) and David Byrne (right)

Jonathan Dowdall and his dad Patrick (centre) leaving court

Andrew PhelanSunday World

Regency Hotel murder accused Gerry Hutch and his two alleged accomplices will have verdicts in their cases handed down in April, the Special Criminal Court has said.

The non-jury court will deliver its ruling on April 17, the presiding judge said this afternoon at the end of the 13-week trial.

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

Earlier, barristers for the co-defendants, Jason Bonney and Paul Murphy gave their closing speeches on what was the 52nd and final day of the trial.

Mr Hutch’s defence and the prosecution made their closing arguments yesterday.

Mr Hutch (59), of The Paddocks, Clontarf, Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Kinahan gang member David Byrne (32) on February 5, 2016.

He was killed when five raiders, three disguised as ERU gardai with assault rifles stormed the Regency in north Dublin.

The attack at a boxing weigh-in fuelled the Kinahan-Hutch gang feud.

Jason Bonney (52) of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock and Paul Murphy (61) of Cherry Avenue, Swords, deny facilitating the killing by providing escape cars for the hit team.

Gerry Hutch (left) and David Byrne (right)

Former Sinn Fein councillor Jonathan Dowdall had been charged with murder but instead pleaded guilty to facilitation, by helping to book a room at the Regency that was used by the raiders.

Before the trial started, he was jailed for four years alongside his father Patrick Dowdall, who admitted the same offence and was given a two-year sentence.

Ms Justice Burns said today: “We will put the matter in to the first day of term, which is April 17, then if it transpires the court is in a position to deliver a verdict before then… we will notify the parties.”

She said earlier verdicts were unlikely, however, given the court’s other commitments.

"It was a long trial and it was a difficult trial at times," she said, thanking everyone involved "for conducting themselves in the manner that they did."

A BMWX5 jeep linked to Jason Bonney and Paul 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 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 jeep he was linked to 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 jeep 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.

Mr Fitzgerald said in the CCTV footage of the jeep’s movements, there were unexplained aspects of the route which were more consistent with the defence’s case.

He also said Mr Bonney’s phone did not go south of Newbrook Avenue.

Mr Fitzgerald asked the court to consider the evidence of alibi witnesses. One, a neighbour, Julie McGlynn said she saw Mr Bonney’s now-deceased father Willie leaving Newbrook Avenue in the BMWX5 at around 11.30am on the day of the Regency murder. She also said she spoke to Jason Bonney outside that address at 2.45pm to 2.50pm - around 15 minutes after the shooting.

Jonathan Dowdall and his dad Patrick (centre) leaving court

Mr Fitzgerald said she had a reason to remember the date as it was her son’s 13th birthday.

The prosecution had argued that CCTV showed her timing to be an “impossibility” but Mr Fitzgerald asked how someone could unequivocally state the time after six to seven years.

Another defence witness Peter Tyrell said he saw Willie Bonney driving the jeep in Artane that afternoon. The time on CCTV was 2.44pm - shortly after the murder. Mr Tyrell gave a “compelling account,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

The court heard when gardai interviewed Jason Bonney, he did not tell them his father William was driving the jeep 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 gardai 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.”

On the issue of whether Mr Bonney had fallen out with his father at the time, Mr Fitzgerald said it was an “entirely different matter to have a row with your father and to say something that you know will put his life in danger.”

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

His account to gardai 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 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.

“What’s being offered by the prosecution is Buckingham Village is the centre of everything, Mr Murphy’s car is in Buckingham Village so you can put two and two together and get 600,” he said.

Mr Murphy had said in interview he was in nearby Bella Street to meet Eddie Hutch. Mr Condon said he did not accept it had been proved that his time in the area “overlapped” with the alleged presence of Kevin “Flat Cap” Murray, one of the Regency raiders.

If Murray was there, there was no evidence he had any interaction with Mr Murphy, Mr Condon said.

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