Judge discharges dying man wanted in Regency probe
A man wanted over his alleged role in the Regency Hotel murder has been discharged by a judge in Northern Ireland after extradition proceedings were brought to an end because he is dying.
Kevin Murray (47), from Co Tyrone, was wanted in connection with the killing of David Byrne in February last year.
However, extradition proceedings were ended at Belfast Recorder's Court due to Mr Murray being diagnosed with rapidly deteriorating and terminal motor neurone disease.
Judge Patricia Smyth said: "I'm satisfied the only appropriate course I can take is to discharge the requested person."
Mr Byrne (34), from Crumlin, was shot dead at the Regency Hotel on February 5, 2016 when masked men dressed as gardaí opened fire with automatic guns during a boxing weigh-in.
The murder escalated a feud between members of the Kinahan cartel and Hutch gang, which has so far claimed 11 lives.
Mr Murray was detained last September under a European Arrest Warrant issued by authorities here, for alleged offences of murder, possession of a firearm with intent and possession of a firearm in suspicious circumstances.
Gardaí investigating the killing alleged Mr Murray could be identified on CCTV footage and photographic evidence.
Another man, Patrick Hutch (25), of Champions Avenue, Dublin, has been charged with the murder.
Lawyers for Mr Murray opposed his extradition, claiming it was unlikely he would ever stand trial because his motor neurone disease was so severe.
They argued that it would be unjust and oppressive to send a man receiving end-of-life care to the Republic. Medical opinion backed their claim his condition would lead to eventual death.
Mr Murray is completely bedridden, suffering from respiratory difficulties and is fed through a tube, the court heard. He is unable to talk and has limited power in his arms and legs.
Counsel for the Irish State accepted that his extradition is currently barred, but sought a three-month adjournment.
However, Judge Smyth said: "It's clear from the doctor's report of March 2017 that the requested person is dying of motor neurone disease."