One of three Dublin men accused of helping a crime gang murder David Byrne at the Regency Hotel five years ago may be granted bail if he can find an independent surety, the Special Criminal Court said today.
Bringing his bail application, Paul Murphy (59) with an address at Navan Road, Cabra, Dublin 7, appeared before the non-jury court this afternoon charged with supplying logistical support to a six-man team suspected of carrying out the murder on February 15th, 2016.
He is charged with providing a motor vehicle to a criminal organisation, with knowledge or having been reckless to whether those actions could facilitate a serious offence by the organisation, namely the murder of David Byrne on February 5th, 2016.
Objecting to bail, Detective Garda Deirdre Quinn of Clontarf Garda Station told Ms Maddie Grant BL, for the State, that the objection to bail was based on the seriousness of the crime, the strength of the evidence and that there were concerns over witness intimidation.
Det Gda Quinn said it will be alleged that Mr Murphy, a taxi-driver, supplied logistical support to the crime group on the day by being part of a six-vehicle convoy involved in the murder.
Ms Grant said that Mr Murphy, who is a part-time taxi-driver, had €1,000 towards bail but Det Gda Quinn said she would not be satisfied by any bail conditions.
Defending barrister Mr Mark Lynam BL said his client met with gardaí by arrangement when he was arrested and interviewed in May 2016.
Mr Lynam said that despite the "dramatic and tragic" events since the 2016 shooting that his client had remained in Swords, save for one single weekend away in Wales and that he had "no ties further afield".
Counsel said that Mr Murphy's partner, who also works part-time, is also in Ireland and that his children suffered with medical issues.
Mr Lynam said that the €1,000 offered towards bail had been put together by the family and that it was "the extent of which he [Mr Murphy] can raise - he doesn't have a big sum".
Impact of pandemic
Mr Murphy told Mr Lynam that the Covid pandemic had had a lot of impact on his ability to earn, that he was not in a position to offer more money towards his bond, and that his children suffered with stroke and epilepsy.
Presiding judge Mr Justice Tony Hunt said that the maximum sentence for the charge was 15 years and that, if guilty, a sentence "north of eight years" could be applied in a "worst case scenario". The judge said that Mr Murphy not showing up for court was a risk as he may wish to avoid such a sentence.
Mr Justice Hunt asked if Mr Murphy had any acquaintances who could act as an independent surety and was told by the accused: "I keep myself to myself; it's just me and the family".
The judge said that the offer of €1,000 was "insufficient" and that an independent surety would be required for bail to meet the risk, adding that he was reluctant to specify a figure.
Mr Justice Hunt said that "in principle" bail would be granted if an "independent element, or acquaintance" could be attached to the application.
Mr Murphy will appear at the three-judge court on Monday alongside his two co-accused, Jason Bonney and Patrick Dowdall, when they will bring their bail applications.
Mr Bonney (50), of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock, Dublin 13,is also charged with participating in or contributing to activity intending to or being reckless as to whether such participation or contribution could facilitate the commission of a serious offence by a criminal organisation or any of its members, to wit the murder of David Byrne, by providing access to individual motor vehicles to that criminal organisation or its members, within the State on February 5, 2016.
Mr Dowdall (64) with an address at Navan Road, Cabra, Dublin 7, is accused of participating in or contributing to activity intending to or being reckless as to whether such participation or contribution could facilitate the commission of a serious offence by a criminal organisation or any of its members, to wit the murder of David Byrne, by making a room available at the Regency Hotel, Drumcondra, Dublin 9 for that criminal organisation or its members, within the State on February 4, 2016.
The offences are contrary to Section 72 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2006 as substituted by section 6 of the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act, 2009.