On the stand | 

Jonathan Dowdall tells trial Gerry Hutch was ‘lying’ about not knowing who Regency hit team were

It was clear that they knew each other and “he’s telling me they don’t know each other," Dowdall said.

Andrew PhelanSunday World

Former Sinn Fein councillor Jonathan Dowdall has said the three “yokes” he and murder accused Gerard Hutch were heard discussing in a bugged conversation were the AK47s used in the Regency hotel attack.

Dowdall also said Hutch was lying when he said on the surveillance recording that he did not know who “six people” involved in the raid were.

Dowdall was being asked to comment on conversations he had with Mr Hutch as they drove north for alleged meetings with republicans in the aftermath of the Regency shooting.

His evidence was continuing for a second day in Mr Hutch’s trial for the murder of David Byrne in a gangland attack at the Dublin hotel on February 5, 2016.

Mr Byrne (33), a Kinahan gang member, 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 hotel.

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

Hutch (59), of The Paddocks, Clontarf, Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to the murder.

Two other men, Jason Bonney (51) of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock and Paul Murphy (61) of Cherry Avenue, Swords, deny providing cars for the attack team.

Dowdall had also been charged Mr Byrne’s murder but before the trial started he instead pleaded guilty to facilitating the killing, by helping his father Patrick to book a room in the Regency for use by a criminal organisation. His murder charge was withdrawn by the prosecution.

In his evidence yesterday, Dowdall made two main allegations against Hutch.

David Byrne

The first is that when he drove his father to hand over the Regency room keys the day before the attack, it was to Gerard Hutch. The court has heard the room was later used by the raider in the flat cap, now-deceased Kevin Murray.

The second allegation Dowdall made was that three days after the shooting, Mr Hutch met him in a park and confessed that he and another man had shot David Byrne.

This morning, prosecutor Sean Gillane SC led Dowdall through some of the conversations he had with Mr Hutch on a journey they made to Northern Ireland and back on March 7, 2016.

Dowdall has said this trip was for a meeting being arranged with the Kinahans to stop the feud.

He said Mr Hutch had told him in the park a lot of innocent people were going to be killed and they “needed to get someone to sort everything out.”

Dowdall said he was not aware that a garda audio surveillance device had been placed in his Toyota Land Cruiser when he drove Mr Hutch north on March 7.

Today, Dowdall first confirmed to Mr Gillane that it was him and Mr Hutch speaking on the tapes.

Mr Gillane asked him about a reference by Mr Hutch to the “three yokes” and what they were.

“That was the three guns,” Dowdall replied. “The AK47s.”

He said at an earlier meeting in the north, Mr Hutch had said he was “giving them three AK-47s.”

A reference to them being “thrown up” meant that Mr Hutch was “giving them regardless.”

Mr Gillane asked him about a reference to "the village". Dowdall said this was Buckingham Village in the north inner city. He said he spoke to Gerard Hutch's brother Patsy Hutch about his own van being there and CCTV.

"I was told that the van that was used was parked in Buckingham Village and he had got rid of the CCTV for that reason," Dowdall told the court.

"Some woman" was supposed to have got rid of the CCTV and Patsy told him at the time "he got rid of the CCTV because he drove the van," Dowdall said. The court heard another clip where Mr Hutch was heard saying “The f***ing six people don’t know who the six people are, no one f***ing knows, so how can they [gardaí] know. I definitely know two people don’t know each other. It’s all speculation looking at snaps.”

Mr Gillane asked Dowdall what this reference was about.

Dowdall said at the time, “I knew Gerard was involved, I knew Patsy was involved” and he knew Kevin Murray’s name.

“He’s lying to me, saying they don’t know each other,” he said of Gerard Hutch. “I didn’t know who was there. I believed they didn’t know each other until I saw the book of evidence.”

It was clear that they knew each other and “he’s telling me they don’t know each other," Dowdall said.

In another reference to the van, he said "Patsy told me he parked the van in Buckingham Village, he was afraid to drive it, he asked me to say I had the van."

Dowdall said in a reference to Patsy Hutch's house being raided and a key not being taken by gardai, "he never said it was the key... I'm not sure if it was the key or wasn't."

A prison van under Garda escort arrives at the Special Criminal Court where the trial of Gerry Hutch, for the murder of David Byrne, is continuing (PIC: Collins Courts)

Later on the tapes, Mr Dowdall is heard asking Mr Hutch after a meeting if there is anything else he needs. Mr Hutch says: “Maybe if they say they’ll go and do away with the half dozen hitmen in Dublin.

Dowdall told the court there was never anything done or agreed that “they would do anything like that.”

“It was loose talk, I don’t think there was any substance in it,” he said. “They would never have agreed to anything like that.”

He said the "hitmen" reference was talk about the people “that killed Neddy (Hutch) and the people that tried to kill Gerard and stuff like that.”

Last week, the court ruled Dowdall’s evidence was admissible in the trial.

The defence had objected, arguing his statement was “tainted” by the dropping of his murder charge in a “quid pro quo” between Dowdall and the state.

The prosecution said everything done in relation to Dowdall was "above board" and the court had a right "to hear every man's evidence."

The court ruled no "fundamental unfairness" arose from the circumstances in which Dowdall gave his statement, and that it had not been given in return for his murder charge being dropped.

The tapes had also been the subject of a defence challenge but were also ruled admissible.

The non-jury trial is being heard by Ms Justice Tara Burns, Judge Sarah Berkeley and Judge Grainne Malone.

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