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Episode 205: Jonathan Dowdall and the witness protection programme - what's the deal?

Why Justice Tara Burns has demanded to know the status of the former Sinn Fein councillor on the Witness Protection Programme.

Nicola TallantSunday World

FORMER Sinn Fein councillor Jonathan Dowdall has agreed to give evidence against Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch at the Special Criminal Court - but a Judge has demanded to know his status on the Witness Protection Programme.

Justice Tara Burns, who is presiding over the Regency Hotel murder trial, said she was unhappy with a note she was given relating to Dowdall's position and has ordered the matter to be cleared up immediately.

The Witness Protction Programme falls under the remit of the Garda’s Crime and Security wing, headed up by Assistant Commissioner Orla McPartlin.

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The senior officer has already appeared before the three-judge panel, when called to explain why gardai chose to destroy data relating to a tracking device.

Justice Burns ruled that while aspects of Dowdall's transition to witness were not without difficulty, the court is entitled to hear his evidence.

Today, Nicola Tallant talks with Niall Donald about the much-anticipated witness who once stood accused of murder.

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