Sunday 22 September 2019

Judge frustrated over latest delay in Regency trial

Stock picture: Getty
Stock picture: Getty
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

The Regency Hotel gun murder trial has been delayed after the defence asked to be provided with copies of emails between four gardaí.

The trial of Patrick Hutch at the non-jury Special Criminal Court was adjourned to Tuesday, when the presiding judge said the case would continue unless there was some "very compelling reason".

Judge Tony Hunt expressed his frustration with the delay, which comes after the three-judge court decided to admit key photographic evidence into the trial last Friday.

Mr Hutch (25), of Champions Avenue in Dublin's north inner city, has pleaded 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.

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.

Last Friday the court ruled that evidence by two gardaí who said they identified Mr Hutch in a photo of the man dressed as a woman was admissible.

This had been contested by the defence in legal argument.

Yesterday, Michael O'Higgins SC, defending, said an issue had arisen in relation to Garda statements, matters that were omitted and new statements that then came together and "hit every single note on the scale".

He had made a case in legal argument that the statements were a "blatant and obvious cog from one to the other", which was not accepted by the prosecution. He said he was looking for material in relation to "contact they may have had with regard to those statements".

"What has been requested is disclosure of email communications" between four gardaí, Sean Gillane SC, prosecuting said. Searches had initially resulted in "unmanageable" results, but while the scope had been narrowed it still involved thousands of emails, he said.

Irish Independent

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