Former Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall may be taken into the Witness Protection Programme after implicating others in the Regency Hotel murder.
Dowdall was due to stand trial alongside Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch for the murder of David Byrne; however, he last week pleaded guilty to a related, less significant charge.
David Byrne was shot dead when armed men, some of whom were dressed as gardaí, stormed a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel in Dublin six years ago.
59-year-old Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch was due to stand trial today for the murder today; however, that trial has now been adjourned until next week.
44-year-old Jonathan Dowdall was also due to stand trial for the murder but his plea to the lesser charge of helping the gang by booking a room at the hotel was accepted last week.
His father, Patrick (65) admitted the same charge. Both men denied having any knowledge of what the hotel room was to be used for and are now awaiting sentence.
Last November, Dowdall indicated his willingness to make a statement about what he knew about the Regency Hotel attack.
At the time, the former Sinn Féin councillor was serving a sentence for falsely imprisoning and torturing a man in his home on the Navan Road.
A formal statement was taken from him recently. In it, his barrister, Michael O’Higgins SC, said he had implicated others. With his client making himself available to testify in the Regency Hotel murder trial, Mr O’Higgins said his evidence is “potentially of value to the other side”.
The court heard Jonathan Dowdall and his family have been taken into protective custody and he is now being assessed for the Witness Protection Programme.
Jonathan Dowdall and his father Patrick will be sentenced later this month.
Gerry Hutch’s trial was due to begin this afternoon but shortly after 2pm, the Special Criminal Court agreed to adjourn it until next week.
Without going into detail, the court was told of some developments which, his barrister said, had resulted in a “fundamental reappraisal” of the defence strategy.
As a result, both sides were given more time to allow for the disclosure of additional evidence.
Mr Hutch sat in the dock for the brief hearing.