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Jonathan Dowdall says claim Gerry Hutch confessed to Regency shooting is ‘not a lie’

State witness Dowdall was testifying for an eighth day at Mr Hutch’s Special Criminal Court trial for murder.

Andrew PhelanSunday World

FORMER Sinn Fein councillor Jonathan Dowdall has insisted that his claim that Gerard “The Monk” Hutch confessed to the Regency Hotel shooting is “not a lie.”

Dowdall denied he was lying when he testified that Mr Hutch told him in a meeting in a park three days after the gangland attack that he and another man shot victim David Byrne.

Continuing to give evidence for the prosecution, Dowdall also said references he made to the Regency raid in a bugged conversation with the accused were not just about the Hutch gang being involved, but Gerard Hutch personally.

Dowdall was testifying for an eighth day at Mr Hutch’s Special Criminal Court trial for murder.

Mr Byrne 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 Regency in Dublin.

The attack at a boxing weigh-in on February 5, 2016 fuelled the Kinahan-Hutch gang feud.

Mr Hutch (59), of The Paddocks, Clontarf, Dublin, has pleaded not guilty. Dowdall had also been charged with Mr Byrne's murder but before the trial started he instead pleaded guilty to facilitating the killing, by helping to book a room in the Regency for use by the attackers.

His murder charge was withdrawn by the prosecution and he turned state’s witness.

Dowdall (44) began testifying last week, when he alleged that Mr Hutch met him in a park on February 8, 2016 and confessed that he and another man, James “Mago" Gately shot Mr Byrne.

He also alleged that Gerard Hutch was handed the keys for a booked room in the Regency that was used by the attacker in the flat cap, Kevin Murray.

The court has already heard a tape of recorded surveillance conversations between Dowdall and Mr Hutch as they drove to Northern Ireland on March 7, 2016 to try to get republican contacts to mediate in the escalating feud.

Today, in continued cross-examination, defence barrister Brendan Grehan SC asked Dowdall to comment on the tape as it was replayed.

On the recording Dowdall tells Hutch about a meeting with republicans “that’s something we never even thought of” to say to them.

“I know it’s a stupid thing and it’s a lie, Dowdall says. “Ya’s never did the f**king Regency.”

Mr Hutch replies: “I don’t think anything should be brought up who done what… you just can’t go into it.”

“Can you remember that meeting with Kevin - ya never admitted that was you at the Regency, did ye not,” Dowdall says.

“What?” Mr Hutch asks and Dowdall repeats it.

“We never admitted that that was anything to do with yous at the Regency but obviously we did by giving them the yokes,” Dowdall says.

Mr Hutch replies: “Yeah, he knows, yeah.”

Mr Grehan said in “Ya’s never did the Regency”, Dowdall was referring to the Hutch gang.

“That is correct but he did tell me he did it,” Dowdall told Mr Grehan, and said this was during their alleged meeting in the park.

Mr Grehan put it to him that he was lying about this.

“The park is not a lie,” Dowdall replied.

Dowdall said the “Kevin” he was referring to was a Kevin Tyrone/ O’Neill and he was talking about a meeting Mr Hutch had with him on February 20 that year.

Dowdall had not been at that meeting.

Dowdall said he was asking because he was worried at the time that he was being blamed for bringing “Flat Cap” Kevin Murray into the Regency attack.

He was not sure if the republicans “knew what they were getting.”

The prosecution alleges conversations on the tape refer to three AK-47s used in the Regency being promised to the republicans.

Mr Grehan said Dowdall had been asked to comment on the audio clip when it was played to him during his direct evidence last week after he made a statement.

In his comments, Dowdall had told the court last week: “I bring up, did you tell them up North that it was yous at the Regency? I already knew he was there.”

Dowdall told Mr Grehan today that what he said on the transcript was different and his direct evidence was “just a variation.”

He said he was referring to the Hutch family but there was also a “standalone” part where he said "you".

Mr Grehan said “'you' could be plural or singular.”

“I said it two ways, first “you”, meaning him, and then “yous” meaning the whole lot of them,” Dowdall said.

Two other men are also on trial with Mr Hutch. Jason Bonney (51) and Paul Murphy (61) deny providing cars for the attack team. Mr Dowdall’s evidence does not relate to them.

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

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