Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch ‘not anticipated’ to testify in Regency murder trial

Mr Hutch’s barrister Brendan Grehan SC is instead due to put forward his defence during the trial's closing arguments, which are expected to begin tomorrow.

Gerry Hutch

Andrew PhelanSunday World

It is not "anticipated” that Regency Hotel murder accused Gerard “The Monk” Hutch will go into evidence or call any witnesses in his defence, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

Mr Hutch’s barrister Brendan Grehan SC is instead due to put forward his defence during the trial's closing arguments, which are expected to begin tomorrow.

Only his co-accused Jason Bonney, who is charged with facilitating the gangland attack and claiming an alibi defence, has said he is calling witnesses.

Prosecutor Sean Gillane SC said there was now “light at the end of the tunnel” in the trial, which is in its final stages after entering its 13th week today.

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.

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

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 GAA grounds before the attack and transported the raiders away afterwards

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 attackers. He was jailed for four years before the trial started and gave evidence against Mr Hutch.

Dowdall courtroom sketch© PA

Today Bernard Condon SC, for Mr Murphy, objected to the admissibility of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) evidence in the case.

Then, Detective Garda Ronan McMorrow was re-called by the prosecution at the request of Mr Bonney’s defence barrister, John Fitzgerald SC.

Mr Fitzgerald has said Mr Bonney's defence will be that on the day of the murder, his client was not driving his jeep south of Newbrook Avenue, Donaghmede, but his father was, and was seen doing so.

Mr Fitzgerald said he wished to clarify and expand on some aspects of Mr Bonney’s memo of garda interview that were “a bit disjointed.”

The court heard Mr Bonney told gardai in interview in 2016 he had had the BMW for a couple of years and it was registered to his father's company. His father had stopped working and the company went dormant. Mr Bonney told gardai at the time he had had a falling out with his father and they had not spoken for two years.

He had also spoken about being under pressure to get renovation work on his house at Newbrook Avenue done at the time.

Maddie Grant BL, for the prosecution read out a statement from Garda Ellen Ruddy of Buncrana station who said the day before the Regency murder, at 2.29pm, she got a request from the PSNI to check the registration of a car as a number of males were acting suspiciously in Strabane, Co Tyrone. The car, a Toyota Land Cruiser, was registered to Jonathan Dowdall’s electrical firm.

The court heard Mr Hutch's arrest warrant was applied for and granted on March 24, 2021. After today's prosecution evidence, Ms Justice Tara Burns, presiding, said the court would rule on the ANPR admissibility challenge tomorrow morning.

Mr Gillane said “hopefully, there’s light at the end of the tunnel” and that “subject to it not being an oncoming train”, the prosecution would be in a position to close its case tomorrow.

Mr Fitzgerald said Mr Bonney's defence would be going into evidence and could do that tomorrow.

Mr Grehan said: “I don’t anticipate I will be calling any evidence” and Ms Justice Burns replied: “we won’t hold you to that.”

Mr Condon said there was a small piece of CCTV footage that had been extracted from the prosecution’s evidence that he wished to put in as a “sub-exhibit.”

Mr Gillane said he was not going to put any legal impediment in the way of Mr Bonney’s defence evidence, which was not expected to be long.

Ms Justice Burns asked if, “subject to Mr Grehan’s position not changing,” closing speeches could start tomorrow.

Mr Gillane said Fiona Murphy SC would be closing the case for the prosecution and “we will be in a position to do whatever is required of us tomorrow, or the next day.” The trial continues before Ms Justice Burns, Judge Sarah Berkeley and Judge Grainne Malone.

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