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Gerry Hutch (in black cap) at the funeral of his brother in 2016.
Special Criminal Court

Gerry Hutch challenges jurisdiction of non-jury Special Criminal Court to hear his trial

The trial has been fixed for October 2022.

GERRY HUTCH HAS been given permission to bring a High Court challenge against the jurisdiction of the non-jury Special Criminal Court to hear his trial for the murder of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel.

Mr Hutch claims that the decision to try him before the Special Criminal Court, (SCC) amounts to “a significant curtailment of his rights.”.

Mr Hutch is charged in connection Mr Byrne’s murder at the Regency Hotel, in Whitehall, Dublin 9 on February 5th, 2016.

After he was charged with the offence the DPP certified that under the 1939 Offences Against the State Act his trial should not proceed before an ordinary court, and that Mr Hutch should be tried before the SCC.

That trial has been fixed for October 2022.

Represented by Brendan Grehan SC, with Michael Horigan Bl instructed by Ferrys solicitors, Mr Hutch argues that he should not be tried under what amounts to temporary emergency legislation introduced in 1972 during the troubles.

The Oireachtas has failed to enact legislation to permit the establishment of a permanent SCC, he claims.

Trying him under temporary legislation breaches his rights, including his right to a fair trial, he further claims. He claims that he should be tried before a judge and jury, and not the three-judge SCC.

In judicial review proceedings against the Director of Public Prosecutions, The Minister for Justice, Dáil Éireann, Ireland and the Attorney General, Mr Hutch seeks various orders and declarations from the court.

Mr Hutch with an address at Clontarf in Dublin 3 seeks an order prohibiting his trial from proceeding before the SCC.

He also seeks various declarations from the court including that his trial before the SCC, is unlawful, outside the powers of the 1939 Offences Against the State Act, and violates his constitutional rights.

He further seeks a declaration that the failure by the State to enact anything other than temporary measures in respect of procedures for the trial of persons before the SCC also breaches his rights.

He also wants the court to stay his trial pending the outcome of his High Court challenge.

His action came before Mr Justice Anthony Barr, at today’s sitting of the High Court.

The judge, on an ex parte basis, where only Mr Hutch’s lawyers were present in court, granted the accused permission to bring his challenge.

The matter will be mentioned before the Court next month.

Earlier this year former SF Councillor Jonathan Dowdall, who is also charged with Mr Byrne’s murder, launched a similar challenge against the SCC’s jurisdiction to hear his trial.

Mr Dowdall of Navan Road, Cabra, Dublin, who had been an elected member of Dublin City Council, also opposes being tried before the non-jury court. His case is due to be mentioned before the High Court early next year.

Aodhan O Faolain