The Supreme Court has begun hearing Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch’s appeal against a decision to hold his murder trial in the Special Criminal Court.
His trial for the murder of David Byrne, who was shot dead at the Regency Hotel in Dublin in 2016, is due be heard before the non-jury court in October.
In Gerry Hutch’s case, it was decided the ordinary courts were inadequate to hear his trial and in the interests of the administration of justice and the preservation of peace, the DPP certified that it be heard before the non-jury Special Criminal Court.
Both he and his co-accused, former Sinn Féin Councillor Jonathan Dowdall, of Navan Road, Cabra, Dublin, have already failed to convince the High Court to overturn that decision.
However, they were given permission to bring a further appeal to the Supreme Court on the grounds that it raises an urgent matter of general public importance.
The central issue is whether the Special Criminal Court is a temporary court as provided by the law which established it in 1939 or a permanent court.
Mr Dowdall’s barrister submitted that allowing it to operate as a permanent court is outside the powers of the now 83-year-old law.
He said it has served the country well but is out of step with modern legislation and claimed some of its provisions are outdated.
Main image is a file photo of Gerry Hutch in Dublin, 19-03-99. Image: Photocall Ireland