The State has concluded its case against Gerard ‘The Monk’ Hutch, who is charged with the murder of Kinahan Cartel member David Byrne at the Regency Hotel, and his two co-accused who deny participating in the murder by providing access to vehicles.
After 13 weeks of evidence, it is expected that Mr Hutch’s co-accused Jason Bonney will call witnesses to give evidence on his behalf later.
After the conclusion of the prosecution case on Tuesday, defence barrister Brendan Grehan SC, for Mr Hutch, told presiding judge Ms Justice Tara Burns that the defence are not calling any evidence on his behalf, nor will his client take the stand.
Defence counsel Bernard Condon SC, for Paul Murphy, said his legal team would not be calling evidence either but that he needed to make a submission about the jurisdiction of the court.
On Tuesday, in the trial’s 50th day, Sean Gillane SC, prosecuting, told the three-judge court that the prosecution case was now closed.
The lawyer also informed the judges that the prosecution had disclosed a statement to Mr Bonney’s barrister, Mr John Fitzgerald SC, relating to a witness which the prosecution proposed to call in respect of his client’s alibi and after the “alibi evidence is itself produced”.
Mr Fitzgerald, for Mr Bonney, said he received the statement early on Tuesday morning and may look for a small bit of time to consider the matter.
On Monday, Mr Murphy challenged the admissibility of licence plate evidence, on which the court delivered a ruling on Tuesday morning.
Ms Justice Burns ruled the license plate evidence was inadmissible, saying “the court can’t be satisfied as to the provenance or reliability” of the information contained in the evidence.
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 5th, 2016.
Mr Hutch’s two co-accused – Paul Murphy (61), of Cherry Avenue, Swords, Co Dublin, and Jason Bonney (52), 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.
Ex-Sinn Féin Councillor Jonathan Dowdall, a former co-accused of Mr Hutch who facilitated Mr Byrne’s murder and turned witness for the State, has said Mr Hutch told him in a park several days after the Regency attack – in or around February 8th, 2016 – that he and another man had shot Mr Byrne at the hotel.
Mr Murphy’s light coloured Toyota Avensis taxi and a BMW X5, which the prosecution say was driven by Mr Bonney on the day, are alleged to have been part of a convoy that parked up at St Vincent’s GAA club grounds before the shooting and then transported the assailants from the Regency Hotel shooting after a Ford transit van was abandoned.
It is the prosecution’s case that a silver Ford transit van containing six people left the Regency Hotel after the shooting, including three persons dressed in tactical garda clothing. The raiders then made good their escape by using a number of parked vehicles at St Vincent’s GAA club.
Mr Gillane said in his opening address that “an integral part of the operation” which led to Mr Byrne’s death was the means by which the tactical team escaped, which is central to the case of Mr Bonney and Mr Murphy.
The court has already heard that the defence case for Mr Bonney will be that on February 5th he never drove his jeep, which the prosecution says was used in the attack, south of Newbrook Avenue, Donaghmede [north of the Regency Hotel], but his father did.
It is the prosecution’s case that Mr Bonney was driving a black BMW X5 on the day of the murder and had transported a man in a flat cap, who minutes earlier had raided the Regency Hotel, from St Vincent’s GAA grounds.
The State’s case is that the late dissident republican Kevin Murray was the man seen wearing a flat cap when Mr Byrne was killed and that he cooperated with the “tactical team” that raided the Regency Hotel on February 5th. Mr Murray died from motor neurone disease in 2017 before he could be brought to trial.
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.
The trial continues before Ms Justice Burns, sitting with Judge Sarah Berkeley and Judge Grainne Malone.