Regency trial: Dowdall criticised Sinn Féin's McDonald for not attending 'Neddy' Hutch funeral

The Special Criminal Court is hearing recording of conversations between Jonathan Dowdall and murder accused, Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch
Regency trial: Dowdall criticised Sinn Féin's McDonald for not attending 'Neddy' Hutch funeral

Alison O'Riordan and Eoin Reynolds

Former Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall criticised party leader Mary Lou McDonald for not attending the funeral of murdered man Edward 'Neddy' Hutch and told his brother, Regency Hotel murder accused Gerard Hutch: "But yas were good enough to use Gerard for votes, yas were good enough to use for money," the Special Criminal Court has heard.

In conversations captured by a Garda recording device when Dowdall and the accused allegedly travelled to the North to meet with republicans, Dowdall also says Ms McDonald should have stated it was untrue that "Gerard Hutch so-called Monk, is involved in drugs".

Mr Hutch replied that "they try to keep away from dodgy subjects at a dodgy time". "They were in enough sh*t with the f**kin' Special Criminal Court and Slab Murphy," he added.

The trial has heard the men continued to discuss a wide variety of topics, from the death of Supreme Court judge Adrian Hardiman, whom Mr Hutch deemed a "very good judge", to journalist Paul Williams, whose writing on a purported meeting between Mr Hutch and others in Holland was described as "b*****ks".

When the song 'Missing' by Everything But the Girl came on the vehicle's radio, Mr Hutch laughed as he said: "Get two Es will ya."

Earlier, the trial heard a recording of Dowdall telling Mr Hutch that the accused's "best move" was the "particular yokes used", in what the prosecution alleges is a reference to the three AK-47 assault rifles used by the gunmen who murdered Kinahan Cartel member David Byrne.

In the recording, Dowdall told Mr Hutch: "And d'ya know what the best move you did was? I know it's a small thing, I don't know if you thought of it Gerard at the time, I certainly didn't, but the best thing that happened was the particular yokes that was used. That in itself made some f**kin' statement."

Mr Hutch replied: "Ah massive statement." He later says that "anyone with cop on would know immediately that cops don't use them".

'Not gonna show a weak hand'

The accused tells Dowdall that it's "very hard to get involved where the Kinahans are concerned coz it doesn't work, the messenger gets it" and that he was "not gonna show a weak hand and go looking for peace".

In the recording, the court heard Mr Hutch said there had to be "f**kin' mediation for jaysus sake" and that the Kinahans were "after getting a good wallop and a good bang there".

Dowdall replies: "They pushed too hard, didn't they Gerard, on the wrong c**t, so what's what happened." The accused agreed with this statement.

In another clip, the court heard Dowdall talking about how "cops are sayin' that they can't get over how hard, how focused they are" and their "hardened attitude".

Dowdall tells the accused: "This is not your fight, it can't be all left on your shoulders either Gerard...Ya reared your kids right, they need you as much as the next fella needs their da."

Dowdalls refers to "all the bleeding killin's" and "dealing with the bleedin' little w**kers that are up and comin'". Mr Hutch calls it "disgraceful" and says that "there had to be another way".

"There's other ways of punishin' people. Don't be using a gun all the time. The heartbreak that's left behind when a f**kin' persons dead," says the accused. Mr Hutch added: "We don't want any innocent c**ts shot" and that "it's terrible to do that".

Later in the conversation, Dowdall asks Mr Hutch if there "was anyone that you can message that you trust 100 per cent for your man's address for them two c**** that did that to you in Spain". "No, I'd have to be in Dublin, maybe go around and get them," Mr Hutch replies.

Trip North

On Wednesday, for a second day at the non-jury court, the audio recording was played of a conversation between Mr Hutch and Dowdall while they were allegedly travelling north to a meeting in Strabane, Co Tyrone on March 7th, 2016 in Dowdall's Toyota Land Cruiser, that had been bugged by garda detectives.

The pair discussed mobile phones and Mr Hutch said that with the phone he was using he could put in a new chip and "the minute you get rid of that chip you don't have to get a new phone, just get a new chip".

He added that they are "supposed to be illegal" and that there is a "yoke on them that if you're making a call it will alert you if it's being scanned".

Dowdall asked if Mr Hutch would be "wary" of someone using a bug on him and suggested someone could use a battery of a watch as a bug.

Dowdall then referred to "that c**t", asking if it was true that he was back. Mr Hutch replied: "Kinahan's supposedly back, yeah. He was supposed to be back Friday. Same day as me."

In their discussions about journalist Paul Williams, Dowdall asked: "Where did he get that s**t Gerard?", referring to information about a meeting between Mr Hutch and other in Holland, to which the accused replied: "He got it off the cops."

Dowdall was driving and they were discussing how long they would take to reach their destination when Mr Hutch asked: "Do you want to let me drive for a bit? I'd probably get ya there a little bit faster, five minutes faster." Both men laughed when Dowdall said, "If I was going fast you'd say to me bleedin' slow down!".

They discussed the "skinny little roads" they were driving on and Mr Hutch said you "have to watch when you don't know the roads". Dowdall responded with a laugh: "If the Kinahans didn’t get us Jon's driving did, two of us in a bleedin' ditch."

The conversation shifted again when Dowdall said: "So we're clear on that Gerard, that we're gonna push for them two and the others, yeah?"

Mr Hutch replied: "Yeah, what about them going up and knocking on a few doors and telling them like, telling them who they are and if there's any f**king one moving on any of our families."

They discussed the MGM gym, with Dowdall saying "that has to be f**ked now". Mr Hutch replied: "It has to be damaged." He said he was surprised about the English boxing council, adding: "They are very f**king strong, there's f**king cops and all on it."

'Don't want anything happening the Hutchs'

Later in the recordings, Mr Hutch says: "Like the gist of it is they've sent a message up there, they don't want anything happening the f**kin' Hutchs".

Dowdall says: "The whole leadership are meetin' them. And they sent it through that they'd know that it is comin' from the Northern Command that it's comin' from the leadership. So they want to meet the Kinahans."

Dowdalls says: "I'm after bleedin' bringin' yas in down this road."

Regarding the Kinahans, Dowdall says: "He thinks he's dealin' with a normal druggie with these, these are brainy f**kers". They'll try and manipulate it."

Mr Hutch said that when "word goes back to the Kinahan gang, they go around and tell everyone".

Dowdall said Kinahan associate "Paul Rice offered to come up on behalf of the Kinahans and they told him to f**k off".

At one stage, Mr Hutch tells Dowdall he gets emotional looking "at the little girl with no arms and no f**kin' legs" and calls her a "beautiful little girl".

"When I see her on the telly, I sit and listen. She has so much life in her but no limbs. The doctor told her mother when leaving the hospital that she'd die and said your daughter is a rag girl."

After what the prosecution alleges were meetings between Mr Hutch, Dowdall and the republicans had concluded, the accused tells Dowdall: "Do you not realise you were talking to the three wise men, the three chiefs" and that "basically in a nutshell they're saying they sent somebody to the Kinahan gang".

Mr Hutch tells Dowdall: "So then what do the Kinahans say, so what do we do, sit down and let them murder us."

Mr Hutch said the cease-fire will "suit Kinahan" and for the sake of everyone involved "it's the best option or go to war".

"I've talked to one or two of me mates, close mates, and they're sayin everyone is advising on f**kin' ceasefire," the accused says, adding: "Put it to bed...coz there gonna be casualties on both sides."

Dowdall says "the world is turning against him Gerard, it's only a matter of time". Mr Hutch calls Kinahan "weak at the moment".

'Cream of the crop'

Dowdall tells Mr Hutch that "they will never get an opportunity with you again" and "they're getting the cream of the crop". "Your bleedin' a needle in the haystack to them and they'll never get that needle again," he adds.

Mr Hutch said the republicans' "mentality is different than ours, they're bit of dictators themselves" and "they just wanna go in with an iron fist, they don't wanna take advice off us".

Referring to Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, Dowdall says she should have attended Eddie 'Neddy' Hutch's funeral and that she stayed away from it on purpose.

"She didn't attend the innocent man's funeral. She was on the telly the night Neddy got shot and she branded everyone as scumbags, she said they're all scumbags," he said.

"She shoulda turned around and said, I know that deceased man and I know that family," he said.

Mr Hutch says there was not "one of them" at the funeral and agrees that only Christy Burke was there.

Dowdall says: "But yas were good enough to use Gerard for votes, yas were good enough to use for money". He says she should have come out and said that it is actually untrue that "Gerard Hutch so-called Monk, is involved in drugs".

Mr Hutch says "they try to keep away from dodgy subjects at a dodgy time". "They were in enough shit with the f**kin' Special Criminal Court and Slab Murphy."

Dowdall says "it's in her area" and that she was "stickin' her head under the sand on it", adding: "That'll bite her."

Neddy Hutch

Eddie 'Neddy' Hutch was shot dead at his north-inner city home on February 8th, 2016, in what was believed to be a revenge attack for the Regency Hotel shooting three days earlier.

Later, Mr Hutch says: "And then the performance of what happened in that hotel, they'll put that down to me."

Dowdall tells Mr Hutch to be careful with Kinahan being home. "I don't know a million quid, is that what they said is on ya now?," to which Mr Hutch says "yeah, that's what was said in the paper".

Mr Hutch laughs, saying: "The million dollar man" and Dowdall laughs: "Million dollar man, you're a mad c**t, ya know that."

The accused says: "You're gonna be watchin' your back for the rest of your f**kin' life, all of us are, includin' Kinahan."

Dowdall says: "I nearly bet me life on it, Kinahan will tell them to f**k off unless it's done behind a curtain and there is some agreement done."

The accused tells Dowdall he wants "them three yokes outta here".

Dowdall says "we never admitted that that was anythin' to do with yous at the Regency, but obviously we did by givin' them the yokes" and Mr Hutch replies "yeah he knows, yeah".

Transcripts of the recordings, which are being relied on by the prosecution, are being displayed on several screens in the courtroom and have been described as "part of the core" of State's case in the trial of Mr Hutch (59), last of The Paddocks, Clontarf, Dublin 3, who denies the murder of Kinahan Cartel member Mr Byrne (33) during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel on February 5th, 2016.

Last week, the three judges ruled that they would listen to the 10 hours of conversations between Mr Hutch and Dowdall that were captured by gardaí, despite having heard that Dowdall's bugged jeep had been outside of the State during the majority of the recordings.

Mr Hutch’s defence lawyer Brendan Grehan SC has submitted that their "core argument" would be that gardaí were aware that Dowdall's jeep was outside the jurisdiction for eight of the 10 hours of those recordings from March 7th, 2016 and that the evidence harvested from that "illicit fruit" should be excluded from the trial.

The non-jury court will hear the 10 hours of audio recordings which began at 2.20pm on March 7th, 2016 leading into the early hours of March 8th. After this the court will hear full legal argument from counsel on both sides as part of a 'voir dire' - a 'trial within a trial' - before the three judges rule on the admissibility of its contents having regard to the extraterritoriality issue.

CCTV footage

The Special Criminal Court has viewed CCTV footage of what the State says is Mr Hutch making two separate journeys to Northern Ireland with Dowdall on February 20th and March 7th, 2016, just weeks after Mr Byrne was murdered.

CCTV footage has been shown to the court of Mr Hutch getting into the front passenger seat of Dowdall's Land Cruiser at 2.23pm on March 7th at Kealy's pub of Cloghran on the Swords Road. Further CCTV footage showed the jeep at the Maldron Hotel in Belfast at 5.35pm that evening.

Another clip showed the jeep returning to Kealy's car park at 12.15am in the early hours of the morning on March 8th, where Mr Hutch gets out of the jeep and into a BMW.

The State's case is that Mr Hutch had asked Dowdall to arrange a meeting with his provisional republican contacts to mediate or resolve the Hutch-Kinahan feud due to the threats against the accused's family and friends.

Jonathan Dowdall (44) - a married father of four with an address at Navan Road, Cabra, Dublin 7 - was due to stand trial for Mr Byrne's murder alongside Mr Hutch but pleaded guilty in advance of the trial to a lesser charge of facilitating the Hutch gang by making a hotel room available ahead of the murder.

Dowdall has been jailed by the Special Criminal Court for four years for facilitating the Hutch gang in the murder Mr Byrne.

The former Dublin councillor is currently being assessed for the Witness Protection Programme after agreeing to testify against Mr Hutch.

Mr Byrne, from Crumlin, was shot dead at the hotel in Whitehall, Dublin 9 after five men, three disguised as armed gardaí in tactical clothing and carrying AK-47 assault rifles, stormed the building during the attack, which was hosting a boxing weigh-in at the time.

The victim was shot by two of the tactical assailants and further rounds were delivered to his head and body. Mr Byrne died after suffering catastrophic injuries from six gunshots fired from a high-velocity weapon to the head, face, stomach, hand and legs.

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, have pleaded not guilty to participating in or contributing to the murder of Mr Byrne by providing access to motor vehicles on February 5th, 2016.

The trial continues on Thursday before Ms Justice Tara Burns sitting with Judge Sarah Berkeley and Judge Grainne Malone.

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