Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch (59) has pleaded not guilty to the murder of David Byrne, who was shot dead at a boxing event at the Regency Hotel on February 5th, 2016.
Two other men, Jason Bonney (50), of Drumnigh Road, and Paul Murphy (59) from Cabra Road, have also gone on trial accused of facilitating the murder by providing access to certain vehicles.
They too have denied the charges against them.
The prosecuting barrister Sean Gillane SC opened the trial this morning by giving the judges an overview of the case he intends to present over the coming months.
He told them they would hear evidence of David Byrne being shot six times when armed men, three of whom were dressed as gardaí, stormed the hotel as a boxer was being weighed on a raised platform in a large suite.
What happened to Mr Byrne was an “execution-style killing,” according to Mr Gillane who also described it as a “sophisticated operation carried out by an organised and resourced group”.
He also told the judges they would hear evidence of a “violent and murderous feud,” known as the Kinahan-Hutch feud. They will be given first-hand knowledge of the existence of these organisations and a senior garda will take the stand to talk about the structure of the Hutch criminal organisation.
Mr Gillane told the judges they would hear evidence of events that took place the day before the shooting.
Former Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall was handed a four-year prison sentence yesterday for facilitating the murder by making a room at the hotel available to one of the suspected gunmen.
His father Patrick Dowdall was handed a two-year sentence for the same offence.
Having booked the room and paid for it in cash, Patrick Dowdall later handed the key cards over to his son.
Mr Gillane told the court he would present evidence of those key cards then being handed over to Gerry Hutch on Richmond Road in Dublin.
“This was an important step in the context of what was to happen the following day,” he said.
As part of what was described as a “considerable amount of publicity,” after the shooting, Mr Gillane said a photo of one of the suspected gunmen, who was wearing a wig and dressed as a woman, was published in the Sunday World.
On the back of the publication of that photo, Mr Gillane claimed Gerry Hutch arranged to meet Jonathan Dowdall in a park in Whitehall, Dublin.
It is here it will be alleged that he told Dowdall he was part of the team “who shot David Byrne at the Regency”.
Mr Gillane said it will be further alleged that Mr Hutch then asked Jonathan Dowdall to arrange a meeting with his Republican contacts in the North because of concerns over the escalation of the gangland feud and threats to his family.
On March 7th, 2016, the two men drove to Strabane, County Tyrone.
The car they travelled in was under surveillance and Mr Gillane said many topics of conversation were recorded during that journey, including discussions about the shooting and related matters as well as the feud and efforts to make peace.
There was discussion of a ‘ceasefire’ too, according to Mr Gillane, who said Mr Hutch was recorded saying he wasn’t going to “show a weak hand” by looking for peace.
Mr Gillane claims Mr Hutch followed that statement up by saying: “’It’s hard to get involved where the Kinahans are concerned ‘cause it doesn’t work; the messenger gets it.’”