Monday 1 May 2017

Gangland war in Dublin is an 'abominable and cold-blooded feud' says judge

Gardai investigating the death of Gareth Hutch last week
Gardai investigating the death of Gareth Hutch last week

Andrew Phelan

THE gangland war raging in Dublin has been described by a judge as an “abominable and cold-blooded feud.”

Judge Anthony Halpin was commenting as he refused to grant bail to the second person charged by gardai investigating the murder of Gareth Hutch.

Gareth Hutch
Gareth Hutch

Thomas Fox (29), who is accused of unlawful possession of a handgun the day before the killing, was remanded in custody today after gardai objected to bail at Dublin District Court.

“Mr Fox stands before the court charged with a most serious offence and it is linked to the abominable and cold-blooded feud between two gangland families, the ferocity and viciousness of which has increased exponentially” Judge Halpin said.

”You would have to be living on Mars to escape the daily reportage of the war raging between these two families and the mounting victims as a product of their business.”

Mr Hutch (35) was shot dead outside the Avondale House flat complex in Dublin’s north inner city last week. The father-of-one is believed to have been the seventh victim of a feud between the rival Kinahan and Hutch gangs.

A nephew of Gerry “The Monk” Hutch, he died after he was shot on North Cumberland Street on May 24.

Mr Fox had been detained since he handed himself in to gardai at Mountjoy Station hours after the shooting last week.

Mr Fox, of Rutland Court, Dublin 1 is charged with unlawful possession of a Makarov 9mm handgun. The offence, under Section 27a of the Firearms Act, is alleged to have happened at Avondale House on May 23.

This morning, Detective Sergeant Robert O'Reilly said he arrested the defendant for the purpose of charge at Mountjoy Station yesterday at 7.17pm.

When charged later, he replied after caution: "I have nothing to say."

He was handed a copy of the charge sheet.

Later, defence solicitor Yvonne Bambury applied for bail and Chief Superintendent Pat Leahy objected.

He cited the nature, degree and seriousness of the alleged offence of possession of a firearm in suspicious circumstances.

He told the court this charge carried a maximum potential prison sentence on conviction of 14 years.

“It is anticipated that a further, more serious charge will be proffered against Mr Thomas Fox,” he said.

Chief Supt Leahy said he believed the accused would commit serious offences if granted bail.

At the Chief Supt’s request, Judge Halpin made an order prohibiting reporting any details of the bail objections outlining the alleged circumstances of the case.

Applying for bail, Ms Bambury said the accused’s partner was due to have their first child in six weeks time. Mr Fox and his family had lived in the community all his life.

“My client’s actions are not consistent with those of a man who does not intend to stand trial,” Ms Bambury said. “He presented himself to the station in the full knowledge that he could be detained for a lengthy period of time.”

The court heard Mr Fox did not hold a passport and would undertake not to apply for any travel documents if granted bail.

He would abide by any conditions the court might see fit to impose, Ms Bambury said.

The European Court of Human Rights stated that an accused person was entitled to bail except in exceptional circumstances, she added.

Asked if there were any conditions that would allay his fears, Supt Leahy told the judge: “There are absolutely no conditions that would allay my fears.”

In his decision, the judge noted that reporting restrictions were intended to avoid any prejudice to third parties and for garda operational reasons. These factors outweighed the public’s entitlement to disclosure, he said.

“I think we all accept that the charge before the court is a serious one, particularly in a society where the right to keep and bear arms is highly regulated and policed,” Judge Halpin said.

He remanded Mr Fox in custody to appear in Cloverhill District Court, by video link on June 8.

The accused, wearing a black and red top and black tracksuit bottoms, did not address the court.

Yesterday, Mary McDonnell (44), of Avondale House, North Cumberland Street appeared in the same court charged with failing without reasonable excuse to disclose information to the gardai.

The charge states that she failed to do so “ as soon as was practicable” and it was information she knew or believed might be of material assistance in securing the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of any other person for a serious offence.

The offence is alleged to have happened at another address at Avondale House on May 24 last.

She was remanded in custody for a week after no bail application was made on her behalf.

Mr Hutch had been getting into his car in the car park of the Avondale House flats at around 10am when two men approached him. Mr Hutch was shot several times and fatally injured.

The two fled the scene.

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