A CROWD OUTSIDE the Regency Hotel in Dublin was “extremely hostile” and offered no information to a garda who had arrived on the scene after a fatal shooting there, the Special Criminal Court has heard.
The shooting had happened, the court has previously heard, during a boxing weigh-in at the hotel, when a man dressed as a woman and another wearing a flat cap, armed with handguns, followed by three people dressed in tactical-style garda uniforms and carrying assault rifles, raided the venue.
CCTV footage has been played to the court of two of the men in fake garda uniforms shooting David Byrne (34) as he was fleeing the scene.
It is the prosecution’s case that Patrick Hutch (25) was the man dressed as a woman and that he did not shoot Mr Byrne but was part of a “shared intention” to commit the offence.
Mr Hutch, of Champions Avenue, Dublin 1, is pleading not guilty to the murder of Mr Byrne at the Regency Hotel in Dublin on 5 February, 2016.
He also denies possessing three AK47 assault rifles in connection with the fatal shooting.
The court heard evidence today from gardai who arrived at the scene after responding to calls about an “incident developing at the Regency Hotel”.
Garda Finbar Fleming told prosecuting counsel Sean Gillane SC that a group of about twenty to thirty people was gathered in a carpark outside a Centra shop beside the hotel.
“They were quite irate and upset,” the garda said.
The court heard that Garda Fleming tried to ascertain what had happened but the crowd was “extremely hostile” toward him and did not offer “any information whatsoever”.
Earlier, Sergeant Noel Nolan had told the court that some of those gathered outside the hotel were “very agitated” and “showing hostility”.
He said that he saw an injured man with “blood coming from his stomach” and asked him what had happened.
“Basically, we were told where to go,” the sergeant said, “and given no information”.
The court also heard evidence related to three assault rifles which the prosecution allege were used in the shooting.
Detective Sergeant Padraig Boyce, of the Special Detective Unit (SDU), told the court that on March 9th, 2016, while investigating the movement of weapons by the IRA, gardai stopped a grey Vauxhall van outside Slane, on the N2, in County Meath.
The court heard that in the back of the van, “partly concealed”, there were three AK47 assault rifles and three magazine clips loaded with ammunition.
The weapons were inside white canvas bags, with two of the firearms wrapped in shirts, the court heard.
Detective Garda David O’Leary, of the Garda Technical Bureau’s ballistics section, told Mr Gillane that he examined a number of discharged cartridge cases found in the hotel after the shooting, comparing the cartridges with the weapons found in the van.
The court heard that the detective formed the opinion the cartridges had been fired from the rifles found in the van in Meath.
Concluding the day’s testimony, Mr Gillane read into evidence a statement from Assistant State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis.
The court heard that Mr Byrne had died as a result of six gunshots, fired from a high-velocity weapon, to the face, stomach, hand and legs.
The wounds were “rapidly if not instantaneously fatal”, Dr Curtis concluded.
Earlier, Sergeant Martin Halpin had told the court on the day of the fatal shooting he saw a burnt-out van in Charlemont Estate, in Drumcondra.
The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.