Sunday 15 July 2018

Hutch may face retrial amid 'court conundrum'

The Regency Hotel
The Regency Hotel

Andrew Phelan

Regency Hotel gun murder accused Patrick Hutch may face a retrial after the Special Criminal Court heard new information had come to light that brought "unprecedented conundrums" for the case.

Mr Hutch's defence lawyer said he had to consider additional material that had been provided by the prosecution and "in all probability" he would be seeking an "outright adjournment".

This would mean a new trial date if it is granted, he said. Judge Tony Hunt said the trial was in "unusual territory" and put the case back to this Thursday. Yesterday's delay is the latest in the trial after it was stalled two weeks ago when the defence asked for copies of emails between four gardaí to be furnished by the prosecution.

Tactical

Mr Hutch (25), of Champions Avenue in Dublin's north inner city, is pleading not guilty to the murder of David Byrne (34) at the Regency Hotel in Dublin on February 5, 2016.

He also denies possessing three AK47 assault rifles.

Patrick Hutch: denies murder of David Byrne
Patrick Hutch: denies murder of David Byrne

The shooting happened during a boxing weigh-in, when a man dressed as a woman and another wearing a flat cap, armed with handguns, followed by a "tactical team of three men disguised as gardaí with assault rifles", stormed the hotel.

It is the prosecution's case that Mr Hutch 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.

Michael O'Higgins SC, defending, said the DPP had made some additional material available which the defence was going to have to consider. He said he could not be any more specific than that and asked the judges to adjourn the case to Thursday.

"In all probability if the case is put back to later in the week, we will be applying that the trial will be adjourned outright for certain matters to proceed," Mr O'Higgins said.

Sean Gillane SC, prosecuting, said he did not want to "speak in code" but he hoped the court would put some trust in him at this stage not ventilating in full the nature of the material.

"It's presented some unprecedented conundrums," Mr Gillane said.

The prosecution and defence had been working on this for the last week and it was "not something that had just developed", Mr Gillane added.

Judge Tony Hunt, presiding in the three-judge, non-jury court said he was concerned at what was meant by an "outright" adjournment.

"We would be making a submission to the court that certain matters need to be investigated and that would take time and there has already been quite a gap," Mr O'Higgins said.

Explaining what he meant by an outright adjournment, he said it was as opposed to a postponement and a resumption which "would not be practical".

Irish Independent

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