A notorious Irish criminal allegedly confessed his part in a gangland slaying at a boxing weigh-in to a former Sinn Fein councillor.
The Special Criminal Court in Dublin was told that Gerry “The Monk” Hutch met ex-councillor Jonathan Dowdall in a car park some days after the murder of David Byrne – a member of the Kinahan crime gang.
Sean Gillane SC, for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) said the death of Byrne, 34, was one of the first killings in the bloody Hutch-Kinahan gangland feud.
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On Tuesday, Mr Gillane said the murder attracted significant publicity and Hutch, 59, became “edgy and worked up” after a picture showing a man in a wig and another man in flat cap running from the hotel was published in a newspaper.
The prosecution claims these two men were part of a six-man gang involved in the attack.
The court was told that Hutch contacted Dowdall and arranged to meet him at a car park in Whitehall, Dublin, after the publication of the picture in a Sunday newspaper.
Mr Gillane said Dowdall described Hutch as being “edgy and worked up”.
He was said to have asked Dowdall to arrange a meeting with republicans because of the escalation of the feud with the Kinahans and threats made to friends and family members.
Dowdall allegedly drove him to Northern Ireland on February 20 to meet senior republicans.
Mr Gillane said Dowdall drove Hutch to a meeting in Strabane and the conversation between the pair was captured as the vehicle in which they were travelling was under surveillance.
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The prosecutor said Hutch discussed the feud with Kinahans and efforts to make peace or seek a ceasefire.
Mr Gillane also said Hutch was heard saying he was not going to show “a weak hand in looking for peace”, and “it is very hard to get involved where the Kinahans are concerned because the messenger gets it”.
A number of republican contacts were named in relation to the feud, as well as Kevin Murray – believed to be linked to the IRA – and the possible implication of his involvement in the murder, the court was told.
Hutch also talked about giving “three yokes” as a present to republicans, the court heard, and it was understood that in that context he meant guns.
Hutch has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.
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Two other men are also on trial on charges related to the murder.
Paul Murphy, 59, of Cabra Road, Swords, and Jason Bonney, 50, of Drumnigh Wood in Portmarnock, also pleaded not guilty.
They are charged with providing a motor vehicle to a criminal organisation with knowledge or having been reckless to whether those actions could facilitate a serious offence by the organisation.
The three defendants sat side by side in the dock as the prosecution outlined events on the day Mr Byrne was killed.
Mr Gillane also said: “It’s the prosecution case that this deliberate killing was carried out without restraint by a group of people, of which Hutch was one.
“And, just as the textbook says, there can be no fences without thieves.
“A killing like this cannot be carried out without planning and assistance.”
Members of the victim’s family watched from the public gallery of the court.
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The non-jury trial is being heard by three judges – Tara Burns, Sarah Berkeley and Grainne Malone.
There was a high security presence inside and outside the Special Criminal Court as the first day of the trial began.
Dowdall was sentenced on Monday to four years in prison for facilitating the murder of Mr Byrne.
The 44-year-old former councillor and his 65-year-old father Patrick, with the same address in Navan Road, Dublin, admitted assisting a criminal gang to commit the murder.
Patrick Dowdall was jailed for two years for his role in the killing.
Jonathan Dowdall has said he is willing to give evidence in the trial of Hutch.
Dowdall had been due to stand trial for the murder, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of facilitating the offence by booking a room at the hotel.
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