Lawyers for Gerard “The Monk” Hutch, charged with the Regency Hotel murder of David Byrne, a member of the Kinahan gang, have been forced to conduct a “fundamental reassessment” of their trial strategy after being presented with significant new evidence in the Special Criminal Court has heard.
The trial of the 59-year-old has now been adjourned in the three-judge court until at least next Monday to allow the defense to consider further evidence.
Defense attorney Brendan Grehan SC, representing Mr Hutch, told the non-jury court Monday afternoon that his client has been in custody for over a year and that he is keen to continue his trial. “He was ready to continue today, but things developed late last week and we were presented with very significant evidence that has led to a fundamental reassessment of defensive strategy,” he added.
Sean Gillane SC, speaking on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), told the three-judge court today that there had been “some developments” in the Regency Hotel trial and that the second and fifth defendants in the indictment had made an allegation “safe course” and her conviction had been adjourned.
Mr Gillane said a nolle prosequi could be brought against Jonathan Dowdall on count two of the indictment, meaning the State would drop the murder charge against the former Dublin Councillor.
Jonathan Dowdall, 44 – a married father of four with an address at Navan Road, Cabra, Dublin 7 – was due to stand trial today alongside Mr Hutch for the murder of Mr Byrne but has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of facilitating the shooting in the Special guilty criminal court last Wednesday.
Jonathan Dowdall was present this morning at the Special Criminal Court for a hearing with his father Patrick Dowdall, 65, also of Navan Road, Cabra, Dublin 7, who also pleaded guilty to last week’s murder of David Byrne, 34. to have favored .
Last week Jonathan Dowdall and his father Patrick Dowdall pleaded guilty to participating in or contributing to activities that are intentional or reckless, whether such participation or contributing to the commission of a serious crime by a criminal organization or any of its members facilitated the murder of David Byrne by providing a room to this criminal organization or its members within the state at the Regency Hotel, Drumcondra, Dublin 9 on 4th February 2016.
In addition, Mr Gillane told the court today that there had been “further development” in serving additional evidence for the defense and that it was appropriate “for the case to be rescheduled for next Monday”.
Defense attorney Brendan Grehan SC, representing Mr Hutch, said his legal team wrote to the state last Thursday looking for “a number of items” and he suspects a significant amount of further material is needed.
The defense attorney asked for the matter to be set back a week “to see where the parties stand on disclosure,” and said he hoped to provide a date for the trial to begin at that time. Mr. Gillane confirmed to the three-judge court that the additional evidence had been served and was awaiting disclosure.
When presiding judge Tara Burns asked Mr Grehan if he was confident the trial would go ahead during this term, the attorney said he didn’t know for sure but they were “walking out in hope”, pending the defense’s finding get the material you need. “Until I see things, I can’t comment on that,” he added.
Mr Grehan said he was not looking for the trial to be adjourned beyond a week. “The ball was kicked into our field and we have to deal with it as best we can,” said the lawyer.
Ms Justice Burns said the Special Criminal Court was “fairly booked up” for court dates and if the trial went back it would be for quite a considerable amount of time.
In response, Mr Grehan said his team was very aware of the court calendar and Mr Hutch was also in custody. “I don’t expect the trial to start properly next week. We’ll talk no sooner than two weeks from now,” he said.
Ms Justice Burns, who is presiding and sitting with Justices Sarah Berkeley and Justices Grainne Malone, granted the motion to adjourn the trial a week but noted it was unlikely to begin next Monday. Mr Hutch was remanded in custody until next Monday. He hasn’t been charged yet.
Mr Hutch was present at today’s brief court hearing, where he sported a full head of gray hair and a pair of headphones.
Mr Hutch, last of The Paddocks, Clontarf, Dublin 3, is charged with the murder of David Byrne, member of the Kinahan gang, at the Regency Hotel on Swords Road, Whitehall, Dublin 9 on February 5, 2016.
Mr Hutch’s two co-defendants – Paul Murphy, 59, of Cherry Avenue, Swords, Co Dublin, and Jason Bonney, 50, of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock, Dublin 13 – are both charged with attending or contributing to activities or to be reckless as to whether such participation or contribution might facilitate the commission of a serious crime by a criminal organization, or any of its members, namely the murder of David Byrne, by allowing that criminal organization, or its members, access to individual motor vehicles, within the State on February 5, 2016.
The three accused were due to appear before the Special Criminal Court today.
David Byrne, 34, from Crumlin, was shot dead at the hotel on Swords Road in Dublin in February 2016 after five men, three dressed as armed Gardaí, stormed the building where a boxing weigh-in was being held.
On September 29, 2021, Mr Hutch appeared before an after hours session of the Special Criminal Court without a jury charged with the murder of David Byrne, a member of the Kinahan gang, at the Regency Hotel on Swords Road, Whitehall, Dublin 9 on February 5 2016
Mr Hutch was extradited from Spain after his latest appeal against extradition to Ireland was rejected by a Spanish appeals court on September 14. He was held in a Madrid prison.
Mr Hutch has been in custody since he was arrested by the Guardia Civil at a restaurant in Fuengirola, on Spain’s Costa del Sol, on August 12, 2021. A search for him began in April 2021 after Ireland issued a European Arrest Warrant in connection with the Regency Hotel attack.