Gerard ‘The Monk’ Hutch was one of two armed men in tactical gear who shot David Byrne in a “brutal and savage attack” amid “absolute carnage” at Dublin’s Regency Hotel, the Special Criminal Court has been told Is.
The prosecutor told the gangland murder trial that it was the state’s case that Mr Hutch was “centrally involved” and was one of the two gunmen who shot Mr Byrne.
In her closing speech to the court’s three judges, Fiona Murphy SC said the prosecution had accepted that their witness, Jonathan Dowdall, had himself been convicted of a “disgusting” separate offence. However, he added that this did not mean they could not believe his claim that Mr Hutch had confessed to the murder.
Mr Hutch (59), of The Paddocks, Clontarf, Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Kinahan gang member David Byrne (32) on 5 February 2016.
He was killed when five assailants, three with rifles disguised as ERU Gardai, stormed the Regency in north Dublin.
The attack on the boxing weigh-in fueled the Kinahan-Hutch gang feud.
Jason Bonney (52), of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock and Paul Murphy (61), of Cherry Avenue, Swords, deny providing a car for the assault team.
Mr Bonney’s BMW X5 jeep and Paul Murphy’s Toyota Avensis taxi were both reportedly part of a convoy which parked at the GAA grounds near the Regency Hotel before the attack and later escorted the murder squad away.
Former Sinn Féin councilor Jonathan Dowdall was charged with murder, but instead pleaded guilty to helping book a room at the Regency used by the attackers. He became a state’s witness and gave evidence against Mr. Hutch during the trial.
The prosecution closed its case yesterday after 50 days of evidence.
Other witnesses gave evidence on Mr Boney’s behalf, telling the court that they had seen his now-deceased father, William Boney, driving a BMWX5 that day.
The prosecution called another witness in rebuttal, who said that William Bone was at the family lunch at the time.
Today, Ms Murphy said the prosecution’s case was that Gerard Hutch was one of three men who entered the Regency Hotel “disguised and almost entirely clad in tactical gear”.
One shot David Byrne and moved on, while the other took aim and shot him again while he was “scrambling on the floor” before firing again.
“They were part of the six-man team at the Regency Hotel who murdered David Byrne,” she said.
“It is the prosecution’s case that Gerard Hutch was one of two men who fired firearms in the direction of David Byrne” in what was a “brutal and despicable attack”, she said.
Ms Murphy described the “horrific events that unfolded over the next few minutes” as “absolute carnage”.
He said the prosecution says the cars “belonging to and used” by Mr Murphy and Mr Bonney were in a convoy of six vehicles which “facilitated the escape of six people involved in the criminal enterprise at the Regency that day”. “
Ms Murphy said it was accepted that prosecution witness Jonathan Dowdle was a man with “serious culpability” for an “abhorrent offence” and one who admitted he had lied in the past.
“Those are not things he would find endearing to you but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t believe him,” she said.
He said that before his statement was taken Dowdle had entered his plea for a convenience fee and that he could have chosen to “walk away”, but he did not.
The court heard a surveillance recording of a conversation between Mr Hutch and Dowdall as they traveled to Northern Ireland in Dowdall’s jeep on March 7, 2016.
Ms Murphy said on the tape, it was clear Mr Hutch was talking about the AK47 used at Regency and that he had “absolute control and authority” over them.
She said it appeared that the guns were “Gerard Hutch’s gift” to give to “Republicans” in the North, and that they should “do with them as they please.”
Ms Murphy said she never rebutted or shrugged off Dowdle’s suggestions on the tape that Mr Hutch was “centrally involved” in the Regency attack.
He said her response to Mr Dowdall showed at worst a tacit acceptance of Mr Hutch’s central involvement in the regency, but was in fact an “expression of pride”.
What was absent was any denial, he said.
Another comment that Hutch made was “clearly an admission” to his involvement, she argued.
This was apparently in reference to the increase in subsequent regency feuds.
Ms Murphy said Mr Hutch had “taken hold of a building as one of three men in tactical gear” and that he was “arranging onward transport of items to be used now.”
“It shows beyond reasonable doubt that he was one of three men wearing tactical gear at Regency on the day of David Byrne’s shooting and should be convicted of the offense of murder,” she concluded.
The trial continues before Ms Justice Tara Burns, Judge Sarah Berkeley and Judge Grainne Malone.