New photos | 

Regency Hotel victim’s mum Sadie Byrne leaves court after seeing Gerry Hutch suffer legal blow

Hutch (59), who is in custody, was present in court for today's ruling, where he sported a full mane of grey hair and a cleanly shaved face.
Jonathan Dowdall leaving the Special Criminal Court with father Patrick Dowdall who is served with charges in facilitating the murder. Inset, Sadie Byrne
Pic Collins Courts

Jonathan Dowdall leaving the Special Criminal Court with father Patrick Dowdall who is served with charges in facilitating the murder. Inset, Sadie Byrne Pic Collins Courts

Mother of murder victim David Byrne, Sadie Byrne pictured leaving the Special Criminal Court in Dublin.

Mother of murder victim David Byrne, Sadie Byrne pictured leaving the Special Criminal Court in Dublin.

Jonathan Dowdall leaving the Special Criminal Court in Dublin, with father Patrick Dowdall who is served with charges in facilitating the murder.
Photo:  Collins

Jonathan Dowdall leaving the Special Criminal Court in Dublin, with father Patrick Dowdall who is served with charges in facilitating the murder. Photo: Collins

Mother of murder victim David Byrne, Sadie Byrne pictured  leaving the special criminal court in Dublin.  Photo:  Collins

Mother of murder victim David Byrne, Sadie Byrne pictured leaving the special criminal court in Dublin. Photo: Collins

Gerry Hutch

Gerry Hutch

Brian KavanaghSunday World

Regency Hotel victim David Byrne's mother was in court today as the men accused of murdering her son – Gerry Hutch and Jonathan Dowdall – were told they cannot apply to have the charges dropped.

Sadie Byrne was pictured leaving the Criminal Courts of Justice on Park Gate Street in Dublin at around the same time as murder accused Jonathan Dowdall who was granted bail in the High Court in April.

Both Dowdall and Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch are facing trial in the Special Criminal Court for the murder of Kinahan cartel linked David Byrne at a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel in February 2016.

Ruling on whether the court had the jurisdiction to hear Hutch's application, presiding judge Ms Justice Tara Burns said that, in order for the non-jury court to hear such a matter, a case must be sent forward for trial from the District Court.

Mother of murder victim David Byrne, Sadie Byrne pictured leaving the Special Criminal Court in Dublin.

Mother of murder victim David Byrne, Sadie Byrne pictured leaving the Special Criminal Court in Dublin.

As Hutch was charged before the Special Criminal Court and not the District Court, the three judges rejected arguments previously made by his lawyers, who said that their client would be discriminated against and receive unequal treatment if he was prevented from bringing an application before the non-jury court to dismiss the charge against him.

Defence counsel Brendan Grehan SC, for Hutch, said last week that it would be an "extraordinary situation" and an "absurd interpretation" of Section 4E of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1967 if the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) could deny his client "the obvious benefit" of bringing the application simply because he was charged in the Special Criminal Court and not the District Court.

Hutch (59), who is in custody, was present in court for today's ruling, where he sported a full mane of grey hair and a cleanly shaved face.

Gerry Hutch

Gerry Hutch

The three-judge court heard submissions last week from Mr Grehan, for Hutch, and Michael O'Higgins SC, for co-accused and former Sinn Fein Councillor Jonathan Dowdall, regarding Section 4E of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1967. Fiona Murphy SC made submissions for the prosecution.

Hutch's four co-accused supported the Section 4E application.

Section 4E states that a court can dismiss the charges against an accused person before trial where there is insufficient evidence.

On September 29 2021, Mr Hutch appeared before an out-of-hours sitting of the non-jury Special Criminal Court charged with the murder of Kinahan gang member David Byrne at the Regency Hotel on the Swords Road, Whitehall, Dublin 9, on February 5, 2016.

Jonathan Dowdall leaving the Special Criminal Court in Dublin, with father Patrick Dowdall who is served with charges in facilitating the murder.
Photo:  Collins

Jonathan Dowdall leaving the Special Criminal Court in Dublin, with father Patrick Dowdall who is served with charges in facilitating the murder. Photo: Collins

Delivering the ruling of the non-jury court today, Ms Justice Burns said the defence was seeking to bring a Section 4E application as they were asserting that the case to put the accused on trial was insufficient. She said the defence maintained that a literal interpretation of the section would result in the unequal treatment of their client, as opposed to other accused who are originally charged before the District Court.

The judge said the prosecution’s contention was that Section 4E was not available to the defence as Mr Hutch was charged directly before the Special Criminal Court. “The prosecution submit that the terms of Section 4E are clear and that it is only available to an accused when they are sent forward for trial. As the accused was charged before the Special Criminal Court, [they say] he does not fall within the terms of the section,” she added.

Ms Justice Burns said the court disagreed that the section could be classified as a matter of practice and procedure.

She said the court must apply a literal interpretation to the section to see what the intention of the legislature was and that only when an absurd result would result within the context of the act, would a purposeful approach be adopted.

The judge said that an accused being sent forward for trial from the District Court is a precedent that the Special Criminal Court must meet.

Furthermore, Ms Justice Burns said that the Special Criminal Court was not the appropriate venue for determining the constitutionality of the section and that those accused who commence their journey in the District Court are not appropriate comparators.

In summary, the judge said it was not appropriate for the non-jury court to examine this matter any further as the literal meaning in Section 4E reflected the intentions of the Oireachtas.

Mother of murder victim David Byrne, Sadie Byrne pictured  leaving the special criminal court in Dublin.  Photo:  Collins

Mother of murder victim David Byrne, Sadie Byrne pictured leaving the special criminal court in Dublin. Photo: Collins

Following the ruling, Mr Grehan, for Hutch, referred to a proposed pre-trial hearing application under Section 6 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2021, which he said comprised the “major if not substantial case” made against his client in terms of the evidence. The lawyer said he would be bringing an application to have certain evidence in the case ruled inadmissible.

Ms Justice Burns said the matter would be dealt with as part of the trial in October.

All parties agreed that there was nothing else to attend to before the trial date on October 3 and the case was adjourned until that date.

Mr Hutch, last of The Paddocks, Clontarf, Dublin 3, is charged with the murder of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel on the Swords Road, Whitehall, Dublin 9, on February 5, 2016.


Today's Headlines

More Crime

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices