Lawyers for Gerard ‘The Monk’ Hutch forced to carry out 'fundamental reappraisal' of trial strategy

The 59-year-old's trial has now been adjourned at the three-judge court until at least next Monday to allow the defence to consider additional evidence.
Lawyers for Gerard ‘The Monk’ Hutch forced to carry out 'fundamental reappraisal' of trial strategy

Alison O'Riordan

Lawyers for Gerard ‘The Monk’ Hutch, who is accused of the murder of Kinahan gang member David Byrne at the Regency Hotel, have been forced to carry out a "fundamental reappraisal" of their trial strategy after being served with significant new evidence, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

The 59-year-old's trial has now been adjourned at the three-judge court until at least next Monday to allow the defence to consider additional evidence.

Defence counsel Brendan Grehan SC, for Mr Hutch, told the non-jury court on Monday afternoon that his client has been in custody for over a year and that he was anxious to proceed with his trial. "He was ready to proceed today, but matters developed late last week and we were served with very significant evidence which has resulted in a fundamental reappraisal of the defence strategy," he added.

Sean Gillane SC, on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), told the three-judge court on Monday that that there had been "some developments" in the Regency hotel trial and that the second and fifth accused men on the indictment had taken a "certain course" and their sentencing had been adjourned.

Dowdall

Mr Gillane said a nolle prosequi could be entered against Jonathan Dowdall on count two on the indictment meaning that the State will not be proceeding with the murder charge against the former Dublin city councillor.

Jonathan Dowdall (44) - a married father of four with an address at Navan Road, Cabra, Dublin 7 - was due to stand trial today for Mr Byrne's murder alongside Mr Hutch but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of facilitating the shooting at the Special Criminal Court last Wednesday.

Jonathan Dowdall was in the Special Criminal Court for a sentencing hearing this morning alongside his father Patrick Dowdall (65), also of Navan Road, Cabra, Dublin 7, who had also pleaded guilty to facilitating the murder of David Byrne (34) last week.

Last week, Jonathan Dowdall and his father Patrick Dowdall pleaded guilty to 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.

In addition, Mr Gillane told the court today that there had been "a further development" in the service of additional evidence to the defence and that it was proper "for the case to go back to next Monday".

Defence counsel Brendan Grehan SC, for Mr Hutch, said his legal team wrote to the State last Thursday looking "for a number of items" and that he suspected there would be a substantial amount of further material needed.

The defence counsel asked for the matter to go back one week "to see where the parties are at in terms of disclosure" and said he hoped at that stage to be able to indicate a date for the trial to commence.

Mr Gillane confirmed to the three-judge court that the additional evidence had been served and what remained outstanding was disclosure.

When Ms Justice Tara Burns, presiding, asked Mr Grehan if he was hopeful that the trial would proceed this term, the barrister said he did not know for certain, but they were "travelling in hope" subject to the defence receiving the material they require. "Until I see matters I won't be able to comment," he added.

Mr Grehan said he was not looking for the trial to be adjourned beyond a week. "The ball has been kicked into our court and we have to deal with it as best we can," said the lawyer.

Ms Justice Burns said the Special Criminal Court was "fairly fully booked" for court dates and if the trial went back it would be for a fairly significant time.

In reply, Mr Grehan said his team were very much aware of the court's calendar and that Mr Hutch was also in custody. "I don't anticipate the trial to be in a position to start properly next week. The earliest we are talking about is two weeks from today," he said.

Ms Justice Burns, presiding, sitting with Judge Sarah Berkeley and Judge Grainne Malone granted the request to adjourn the trial for a week but noted that it was unlikely to start next Monday.

Mr Hutch was remanded in custody until next Monday. He has not yet been arraigned.

Mr Hutch was present in court for Monday's brief hearing, where he sported a full mane of grey hair and a pair of headphones.

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

Mr Hutch's two co-accused - Paul Murphy (59), of Cherry Avenue, Swords, Co Dublin and Jason Bonney (50), of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock, Dublin 13 are both 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 5th, 2016.

The three accused men were due to stand trial at the Special Criminal Court on Monday.

David Byrne (34), from Crumlin, was shot dead at the hotel on the Swords Road in Dublin in February 2016 after five men, three disguised as armed gardaí, stormed the building, which was hosting a boxing weigh-in at the time.

On September 29th 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 5th, 2016.

Mr Hutch was extradited from Spain after his final appeal against extradition to Ireland was rejected by a Spanish Appeals Court on September 14th. He was being held in a Madrid prison.

Mr Hutch has been in custody since being arrested in a restaurant in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol in Spain on August 12th, 2021 by the Guardia Civil. A search for him began in April 2021 after Ireland issued a European Arrest Warrant in connection with the attack on the Regency Hotel.

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