Monday 26 September 2016

Son of Eddie Hutch Snr among prisoners seeking release from jail after laws struck down

Aodhan O'Faolain

Published 12/05/2016 | 13:24

Alan Hutch (33) and his late father Eddie Hutch Snr (right)
Alan Hutch (33) and his late father Eddie Hutch Snr (right)

Alan Hutch, a son of gangland feud murder victim Eddie Hutch Senior, is among up to 20 prisoners seeking to benefit from the striking down of the laws governing the courts' powers to activate suspended sentences.

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The proceedings by Alan Hutch (33), who is detained in the Medical Unit of Mountjoy Prison, were among almost 20 separate cases which came before the High Court today.

All of the cases have been adjourned to various dates in the next law term for reasons including that several are awaiting the outcome of another prisoner's case, on which judgment has been reserved by Mr Justice Paul McDermott.

Alan Hutch's case was among five new cases initiated on Wednesday after Mr Justice Michael Moriarty made formal declarations that Section 99.9 and 99.10 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006, as amended, are unconstitutional. Those subsections govern the courts' powers to activate suspended sentences.

It is understood emergency laws to deal with the consequences of the court's declarations are in the final stages of drafting and may be ready to be put before the Oireachtas within two weeks.

The five cases, and another initiated today, bring to almost 20 the cases initiated since Mr Justice Moriarty delivered his judgment on April 19th in which he found the subsections were unconstitutional.

It was indicated to Mr Justice Seamus Noonan today the State disputes that several of the applicants are entitled to any benefit from the Section 99 decisions.

When the case of Alan Hutch was mentioned, his counsel James B. Dwyer BL said it is among those affected by the Section 99 ruling.

Conor Power SC, for the Governor of Mountjoy Prison, said his position was Mr Hutch was not detained on foot of an activated sentence and this case should go back to await Mr Justice McDermott's decision.  Counsel added he had a certificate for the prisoner's detention and handed that into court.

The judge said he was adjourning the case to May 25th when the next law term opens. He also adjourned the various other cases to dates in the first and second weeks of the new term.

Hutch's application is for an inquiry, under Article 40 of the Constitution into the legality of his detention.

It is claimed the court orders which have led to his present detention were made under Section 99.9 and 99.10 and that the striking down of those provisions means the sentences imposed on Hutch on May 16th 2013 were not validly imposed.

Hutch was jailed for eight years in May 2013 after he threatened to kill three gardai claiming he had a grenade. At the time, he was also serving a suspended sentence of four years for a 2009 robbery and assaulting a Garda.

He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery on Drumcondra Road, Dublin, on August 27th 2012 and to assaulting a Garda sergeant during the same incident. He attempted to bite the Garda after being arrested for a robbery of another man.

He also pleaded guilty to car theft, dangerous driving and damaging a Garda car during a high speed chase around north Dublin on October 1st 2012.  He admitted escaping from lawful custody at the Mater Hospital on the same day.

Hutch, with 48 previous convictions, was arrested a week after escaping from custody in the Mater Hospital and later committed an armed robbery with a knife in Dublin city centre. 

During his detention, he has been described as a model prisoner.  In court documents, it was stated he has been detained in the medical Unit in Mountjoy for his own protection since about February 2016, when his father was shot dead.

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