Gerard ‘The Monk’ Hutch, who is accused of the murder of Kinahan gang member David Byrne at the Regency Hotel in 2016, is to seek a pre-trial hearing as well as an application to dismiss the charge against him, the Special Criminal Court has heard.
Defence counsel Brendan Grehan SC, for Mr Hutch, on Monday told the non-jury court that his client is seeking a separate pre-trial hearing which could be heard next month.
Mr Hutch (58), who is in custody, was not present in court for Monday’s hearing.
The three-judge court has to first determine a preliminary issue as to whether the Special Criminal Court has jurisdiction under section 4E of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1967 to hear the application.
Section 4E states that a court can dismiss the charges against an accused person where there is insufficient evidence.
On Monday, Mr Grehan told Ms Justice Tara Burns, presiding, that the jurisdiction issue would take no longer than half a day. The barrister said the consequences of the ruling would determine how long it would take to hear the section 4E.
Separately, Mr Grehan said there would be a preliminary trial hearing application under section 6 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2021, which he said from Mr Hutch’s point of view was a single issue matter. “That could be dealt with in a day but I don’t know what evidence will be potentially required in it,” he said.
Mr Grehan said that defence counsel Michael O’Higgins SC, for Jonathan Dowdall, would be joining the section 6 application.
Last month, Ms Justice Burns agreed to hear a preliminary application to determine if the Special Criminal Court has jurisdiction under the Act to hear the section 4E application.
Information heard about both applications cannot be published or broadcast, save by order of the court.
Ms Justice Burns on Monday listed the section 4E application for July 8th and said that the court would rule on the issue very quickly afterwards. She said that all five accused should be present on that date.
In April 2021, former Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall (43), with an address at Navan Road, Cabra, Dublin 7 was charged at the non-jury court with the murder of Mr Byrne at the hotel.
His father Patrick Dowdall (64), also of the Navan Road, is accused of participating in or contributing to activity intending to or being reckless as to whether his actions could facilitate the murder of David Byrne. The indictment alleges that he made a room available at the hotel for a criminal organisation or its members on February 4th, 2016.
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.
All of the accused are due to stand trial at the Special Criminal Court on October 3rd next. If the trial goes ahead, it is expected to last 12 weeks.
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.
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 is charged with the murder of David Byrne, contrary to Common Law, at the Regency Hotel on the Swords Road, Whitehall, Dublin 9, on February 5th, 2016.
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 the State issued a European Arrest Warrant in connection with the attack on the Regency Hotel.
Mr Hutch, of The Paddocks, Clontarf, Dublin 3, is the third man to be charged with the murder of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel.
Separately, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear appeals by Mr Hutch and Jonathan Dowdall on July 5th against the DPP’s decision to try them before the non-jury Special Criminal Court.