Appeal by ex-Sinn Féin councillor over decision to try him for Regency shooting is struck out

Jonathan Dowdall (44) is charged with the murder of David Byrne (33) at the hotel in Whitehall, Dublin, on February 5th, 2016
Appeal by ex-Sinn Féin councillor over decision to try him for Regency shooting is struck out

Peter Doyle

An appeal by former Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall against the High Court's refusal to overturn a decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to try him for the Regency Hotel murder at the Special Criminal Court has been struck out by the Court of Appeal.

Dowdall (44), of Navan Road, Dublin, and Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch (58) – who was extradited from Spain last September – are both charged with the murder of David Byrne (33) at the hotel in Whitehall, Dublin, on February 5th, 2016.

They are due to stand trial at the non-jury Special Criminal Court after losing separate challenges against the DPP’s decision.

Both had claimed in judicial review proceedings at the High Court that any trial before the Special Criminal Court would be unlawful and in breach of their fundamental rights because the court was operating as a permanent institution after being established on a temporary basis half a century ago.

However, Mr Justice Anthony Barr dismissed both actions, ruling that the legislation challenged was neither temporary nor had any temporal limit.

Hutch and Dowdall later sought leave to appeal the High Court judge’s decision directly to the Supreme Court.

Dowdall, a former Dublin City councillor, had also lodged an appeal against Mr Justice Barr’s ruling with the Court of Appeal.

However, on Friday the President of the Court of Appeal, Mr Justice George Birmingham, was informed by Colm Kitson BL, for the Attorney General, that the case could be struck out.

The move follows the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the Hutch and Dowdall appeals on July 5th.

Dowdall and Hutch Dowdall and Hutch, last of The Paddocks, Clontarf, Dublin 3, had originally raised judicial reviews against the Minister for Justice, Dáil Éireann, Ireland and the Attorney General.

Seanad Éireann was also a respondent in the Hutch case.

In a judgement issued on February 11th, Mr Justice Barr also stated there was no basis in law to prevent the DPP from certifying that Hutch and Dowdall should be tried before the Special Criminal Court on the charge of murder.

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