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regency trial

Hutch recordings: Dowdall tells 'The Monk' that accused's 'best move' was 'particular yokes used'

The prosecution alleges this is a reference to three AK-47 assault rifles used by the gunmen who murdered David Byrne.

THE REGENCY HOTEL murder trial has heard a recording of ex-Sinn Fein Councillor Jonathan Dowdall tell Gerard ‘The Monk’ Hutch that the accused’s “best move” was the “particular yokes used”, in what the prosecution alleges is a reference to the three AK-47 assault rifles used by the gunmen who murdered Kinahan Cartel member David Byrne.

In the recording, Dowdall told Hutch: “And d’ya know what the best move you did was. I know it’s a small thing. I don’t know if you thought of it Gerard at the time I certainly didn’t but the best thing that happened was the particular yokes that was used. That in itself made some fuckin statement”.

Hutch replied: “Ah massive statement”. He later says that “anyone with cop on would know immediately that cops don’t use them”.

The accused tells Dowdall that it’s “very hard to get involved where the Kinahans are concerned coz it doesn’t work, the messenger gets it” and that he was “not gonna show a weak hand and go looking for peace”. 

In the recording, the court heard, Hutch said that there had to be “fuckin mediation for jaysus sake” and that the Kinahans had “after getting a good wallop and a good bang there”. 

Dowdall replies: “They pushed too hard, didn’t they Gerard on the wrong cunt so what’s what happened”. The accused agrees with this statement. 

The trial of Hutch has heard that the two men, in conversations captured by a garda bugging device as they allegedly travelled to the North to meet with republicans, also discussed many topics including the death of former Supreme Court judge Adrian Hardiman who died in March 2016.

Hutch was recorded as saying that he was a “very good judge”. “He was a great barrister, he went from being a barrister straight to the High Court and Supreme Court,” he added. 

Dowdall tells Hutch that “there’s nothin worse than a bully Gerard” and that he’d be “careful of any meetin of anybody for peace or anything”.

He can also be heard telling the accused “like if some c*** came in looking for you like that” and asked him if he had read about the Kinahan’s “destroying themselves” in the newspaper and that they were “runnin out of money”. 

In another clip, the court heard Dowdall talking about how “cops are sayin that they can’t get over how hard, how focused they are” and their “hardened attitude”.

Dowdall tells the accused: “This is not your fight, it can’t be all left on your shoulders either Gerard……………ya reared your kids right, they need you as much as the next fella needs their da”. 

Dowdalls refers to “all the bleeding killins” and “dealing with the bleedin little wankers that are up and comin”.

Hutch calls it “disgraceful” and says that “there had to be another way”. “There’s other ways of punishin people. Don’t be using a gun all the time. The heartbreak that’s left behind when a fuckin persons dead,” says the accused.

Hutch added. “We don’t want any innocent c**** shot” and that “it’s terrible to do that”. 

Later in the conversation, Dowdall asks Hutch if there “was anyone that you can message that you trust 100 per cent for your man’s address for them two c**** that did that to you in Spain”. “No, I’d have to be in Dublin, maybe go around and get them,” replies Hutch. 

For a second day at the non-jury court today, the audio recording was played of a conversation between Hutch and Dowdall while they were allegedly travelling north to a meeting in Strabane in Co Tyrone on 7 March, 2016 in Dowdall’s Toyota Land Cruiser jeep, that had been bugged by garda detectives.

Hutch can also be heard saying that he had his “purse” and he’ll “bleedin reef them if they come near me”. “I always break everything in half in case there is a problem,” he said.

Transcripts of the recordings, which are are being relied on by the prosecution, are being displayed on several screens in the courtroom and have been described as “part of the core” of State’s case in the trial of Hutch (59), last of The Paddocks, Clontarf, Dublin 3, who denies the murder of Kinahan Cartel member David Byrne (33) during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel on 5 February, 2016.

Last week, the three judges ruled that they would listen to the ten hours of conversations between Hutch and Dowdall that were captured by gardai, despite having heard that Dowdall’s bugged jeep had been outside of the State during the majority of the recordings.

Hutch’s defence lawyer Brendan Grehan SC has submitted that their “core argument” would be that gardai were aware that Dowdall’s jeep was outside the jurisdiction for eight of the ten hours of those recordings from 7 March, 2016 and that the evidence harvested from that “illicit fruit” should be excluded from the trial.

The non-jury court will hear the ten hours of audio recording which began at 2.20pm on Monday, 7 March 2016 leading into the early hours of Tuesday, 8 March.

After this the court will hear full legal argument from counsel on both sides as part of a ‘voir dire’ – a ‘trial within a trial’ – before the three judges rule on the admissibility of its contents having regard to the extraterritoriality issue.

The Special Criminal Court has viewed CCTV footage of what the State says is Hutch making two separate journeys to Northern Ireland with Dowdall on 20 February and 7 March, 2016, just weeks after Byrne was murdered.

CCTV footage has been shown to the court of Hutch getting into the front passenger seat of Dowdall’s Land Cruiser at 2.23pm on 7 March at Kealy’s pub of Cloghran on the Swords Road.

Further CCTV footage showed the jeep at the Maldron Hotel in Belfast at 5.35pm that evening. Another clip showed the jeep returning to Kealy’s car park at 00.15 in the early hours of the morning on 8 March, where Hutch gets out of the jeep and into a BMW.

The State’s case is that Hutch had asked Jonathan Dowdall to arrange a meeting with his provisional republican contacts to mediate or resolve the Hutch-Kinahan feud due to the threats against the accused’s family and friends.

Jonathan Dowdall (44) – a married father of four with an address at Navan Road, Cabra, Dublin 7 – was due to stand trial for Byrne’s murder alongside Gerard Hutch but pleaded guilty in advance of the trial to a lesser charge of facilitating the Hutch gang by making a hotel room available ahead of the murder.

Dowdall has been jailed by the Special Criminal Court for four years for facilitating the Hutch gang in the notorious murder of Kinahan Cartel member David Byrne.

The former Dublin councillor is currently being assessed for the Witness Protection Program after agreeing to testify against former co-accused Gerard Hutch, who is charged with Byrne’s murder.

Byrne, from Crumlin, was shot dead at the hotel in Whitehall, Dublin 9 after five men, three disguised as armed gardaí in tactical clothing and carrying AK-47 assault rifles, stormed the building during the attack, which was hosting a boxing weigh-in at the time.

The victim was shot by two of the tactical assailants and further rounds were delivered to his head and body.

Byrne died after suffering catastrophic injuries from six gunshots fired from a high-velocity weapon to the head, face, stomach, hand and legs.

Hutch’s two co-accused – Paul Murphy (59), of Cherry Avenue, Swords, Co Dublin and Jason Bonney (50), of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock, Dublin 13 have pleaded not guilty to participating in or contributing to the murder of David Byrne by providing access to motor vehicles on 5 February, 2016.

The trial continues this afternoon before Ms Justice Tara Burns sitting with Judge Sarah Berkeley and Judge Grainne Malone.

Alison O'Riordan