Ex-Sinn Fein councillor Jonathan Dowdall has claimed that his former co-accused Gerard ‘The Monk’ Hutch is “terrorising” his family and, pointing towards the Special Criminal Court dock, said he has been hit with “a barrage of more threats and more threats”.
Dowdall also told the non-jury court that his 62-year-old mother and his children have received death threats since he decided to turn State’s witness and give evidence against Mr Hutch. “This is why nobody comes in and gives evidence,” Dowdall told the Regency Hotel murder trial today.
Under cross-examination for a fourth day, Dowdall told Brendan Grehan SC, defending Mr Hutch, that “in all the time” since he was accused of Kinahan Cartel member David Byrne’s murder “nobody” had “interfered” with his wife and children but “as soon as I decided to come out and give evidence the level of intimidation has increased”.
The ex-politician went on to say: “My mother is being rang by people who she was kind to when kids, telling a 62-year-old woman she’s dead, that my children are dead. This is a whole different level and this is why nobody comes in and gives evidence”.
Mr Grehan was playing extracts of interviews which Dowdall gave gardaí on May 18 2016 and asked the witness today if he now accepted that he had told lies in those interviews.
“I didn’t tell lies to gardaí. I couldn’t speak in the interviews. I’m speaking now,” he said.
The former electrician also told Mr Grehan: “Everything I feared happen has happened and worse. They had people lined up to come in and lie. The level of pressure people get put under”.
Dowdall told the trial yesterday he couldn’t say in the interview following his arrest in May 2016 that he knew who was involved in the Regency attack.
“It was a lie out of necessity. My family would have been killed if I said who was involved in the Regency,” he added.
Gerard Hutch (59), last of The Paddocks, Clontarf, Dublin 3, denies the murder of Mr Byrne (33) during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel on February 5, 2016.
When counsel put it to Dowdall that he didn’t have to say anything to gardaí when he was arrested for the murder of Mr Byrne in 2016, the witness said he didn’t know “a lot of stuff” then.
The barrister also put it to Dowdall that he had blamed “a large part on gardaí, media and some kind of Twitter account that was saying things about you” in those interviews. “I wasn’t blaming the media for what was going on, when in the police station stuff leaked on media sources that would have put my family under threat,” he replied.
Mr Grehan asked Dowdall had the threat intensified and Dowdall replied: “It’s a whole different level”.
Dowdall agreed that gardaí had asked him about the Regency attack and he had lied by saying he had not been there for six years.
The trial has heard that Jonathan Dowdall drove his father to the Regency hotel on the evening before the attack on February 4 and remained there until Patrick Dowdall paid for the room and obtained the room’s key cards from reception.
In the interview, he told gardaí it had been about five years since he had been in the Regency at a “white collar event”. When Mr Grehan put it to him that was a lie, he said he had been in the car park at the Regency the day before the attack and before that “hadn’t been in the Regency.”
In the interview, Dowdall told gardaí he did not know anything about his father going into the hotel room and leaving shortly afterwards before another male with a key card accessed the room and stayed the night.
Dowdall agreed with Mr Grehan that he had told a lie to gardaí when they asked him a very specific question about whether he remembered driving his father anywhere on February 4th and he said he didn’t.
Counsel said Dowdall had engaged with gardaí and told them lies. “The last thing I thought they were going to tell me was that the person involved in the murder stayed in the room,” he said.
“Why didn’t you say nothing rather than tell lies and lie yourself out of it, it’s because you consider yourself to be a convincing liar,” said Mr Grehan.
Dowdall replied: “You would say that. You just want to put me in a box and call me a liar, liar, liar; you know more than anybody I couldn’t speak in that Garda station”.
At one point Mr Grehan told the witness he wanted to “clear up an issue” about Dowdall’s Uncle Jimmy, who counsel said the witness fell out with.
Mr Grehan went on to say that Dowdall had not personally “shot the shots” into Uncle Jimmy’s house but had got someone else to do it. “I’m not going down that road again, I cleared it up the other day,” Dowdall said.
Counsel said Dowdall was recorded on the audio saying that “Jimmy doesn’t know 100 per cent that was me”. Asked by Mr Grehan if he said this on the audio recording, Dowdall said “if it’s on the transcripts it was me”.
Mr Grehan told the witness that someone from Sinn Fein had interviewed him about this when he was going for his councillor position. Dowdall said: “We spoke about it and Sinn Fein are fully aware of the background to that and wasn’t me. It’s nonsense talk, I’m not discussing it”.
Mr Grehan suggested at that point the witness knew full well that his uncle’s house was “shot up” and that his uncle had named him as the only person he had a falling out with.
Sean Gillane SC, prosecuting, interjected and said this was not accurate and the uncle accepted that it wasn’t Dowdall.
Mr Grehan said all the defence had was a statement from Uncle Jimmy in which he said that the only person he ever had trouble with was his nephew Jonathan.
Pointing towards the dock Dowdall told the three judges: “I shouldn’t be saying this. There was an argument. My uncle got the Ryans involved. I know what happened. This is wrong, it’s more names and enemies to keep him happy over there. He’s terrorising my family.
“If this keeps growing bigger and bigger, I can’t keep doing this. When I ring my wife from prison there’s a barrage of more threats and more threats”.
Dowdall will continue in cross examination on Monday before presiding judge Ms Justice Tara Burns sitting with Judge Sarah Berkeley and Judge Grainne Malone.
Dowdall (44) was jailed by the Special Criminal Court for four years for the facilitation of the murder of Mr Byrne at the Regency Hotel.
Mr Byrne, from Crumlin, was shot dead at the hotel in Whitehall, Dublin 9 after five men, three disguised as armed gardaí, stormed the building.
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 (61), of Cherry Avenue, Swords, Co Dublin and Jason Bonney (50), of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock, Dublin 13 have pleaded not (NOT) guilty to participating in or contributing to the murder of David Byrne by providing access to motor vehicles on February 5th, 2016.