A nephew of Gerry “The Monk” Hutch has been jailed for two and a half years for beating up a Revenue Commissioners worker who confronted him as he burgled the man’s office.
Alan Hutch (36) got into a violent struggle with the Revenue employee who returned from a tea break to find him stealing phones and a camera.
Hutch repeatedly punched the victim in the face and put a metal pole up to his neck as they grappled on the floor.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard he faced being a "dead man walking," members of his family had been targeted for assassination in an ongoing gangland feud, and even when he gets out of jail, it will be like a house arrest because he will “never be safe”.
The court was told Hutch was now so paranoid he feared the prison authorities were contaminating his food and water.
Judge Melanie Greally gave him two concurrent four-year sentences, back dated to last year and suspended the final 18 months.
Hutch, from Portland Place in the north inner city pleaded guilty to assault causing harm and burglary. His father Eddie Hutch was shot dead outside his home in February 2016.
Garda Gavin Feely told the court the incident happened at the offices of the Revenue Commissioners at Hannan Buildings, Upper O’Connell Street at midday on March 7, 2018.
Hutch gained access through an internal door that had been left open by maintenance workers in the adjoining Eir building.
He was seen on CCTV walking up stairs into the Revenue building where he went to the office of Karl Higgins, an employee who was on a tea break.
Mr Higgins returned to see Hutch taking a white box containing the victim’s mobile phone and accessories.
He shouted, asking what Hutch was doing and the accused put the box into his pocket and attempted to leave the office.
He ran at Mr Higgins who was standing in the doorway and there was a scuffle. They fell to the ground and Hutch punched Mr Higgins in the face.
Hutch then ran downstairs into the hallway, followed by the victim. Hutch put his foot through a pane of glass as he tried to kick open the locked door, then turned back at Mr Higgins, who shouted at him to drop his phone.
Hutch punched him in the face on at least two occasions, the court heard.
Another scuffle broke out in which Mr Higgins punched Hutch. Both men fell to the ground and Hutch picked up a large steel pole and pushed it onto Mr Higgins neck and chest area. The victim shouted for help and colleagues came and subdued Hutch at the scene before Gda Feely arrived.
Mr Higgins retrieved the phone as well as another mobile that had been charging in his offiice. When searched, Hutch had a camera in his pocket that had also been stolen and was not compliant in interview, giving only “no comment” answers, Gda Feely said.
The victim, who did not wish to make a statement, suffered facial bruising and tenderness but had no broken bones.
Hutch had been in custody since his arrest. Hutch had 73 previous convictions for assault, robbery and other offences.
Gda Feely said he was aware the Hutch “family name would be involved in a feud in the Dublin area.”
Defence barrister Derek Cooney said a number of Hutch’s relatives including his father had been murdered.
“It is an understatement to put it mildly that people would be aware of the Hutch name,” Mr Cooney said. “The very fact that he has that particular surname has attracted all sorts of unwanted attention to him.
Mr Cooney said “you just have to have the name of Hutch” to be targeted.
“'Dead man walking' is not something that he likes to hear, but all members of the Hutch family are faced with that,” he continued.
Hutch had to be put on protection in Mountjoy prison and was isolated in a single cell, Mr Cooney said.
He did not mix with anyone else and had “formed a certain view of the prison authorities contaminating his food and water.”
Hutch was the fourth of five children; his father Eddie, a taxi driver, was murdered on his doorstep of the family home, Mr Cooney said, reading from a psychological report.
His father had been killed because of his association with other family members and his name was enough to bring about his demise.
Hutch had had a very challenging upbringing and he had witnessed violence first hand in the family home. Despite that, he missed his father.
The author of the report had said that coming from such a background, it was clear to see how Hutch “got into so much trouble” and it was a “sad case.”
Hutch began smoking cannabis at the age of 14 and was excluded from school for that at 16. He progressed onto pills, cocaine and heroin and “never stopped getting into trouble.”
“Just by his name he is caught by matters out of his control and there could be a risk to his life at any stage,” Mr Cooney said.
Somewhere along the line he would be released and “he has to walk around with the name of Hutch on him for the rest of his life.”
He had the fear and apprehension that he was going to be killed and this had an effect on his mental health.
When he is released “it’s going to be a house arrest because he can’t leave, he can’t walk the streets of Dublin.”
Mr Cooney said the “opposing side” had stretched out as far as Majorca and Lanzarote in seeking members of the family and Hutch was “never going to be safe.”
Judge Greally agreed that it would not be feasible to involve the probation service.
She said the burglary had developed into a violent struggle. The judge noted that in prison, Hutch was paranoid in relation to others including prison staff.
He had been exposed to violence and criminality from a young age. Sentencing him, she said she wanted to at least incentivise his efforts to remain crime free.
The judge suspended the final 18 months on Hutch keeping the peace and being of good behaviour for another 18 months.
When asked to acknowledge that he understood the conditions of the bond, Hutch said “I have a hearing problem” and asked: “what does that mean?”
He then confirmed that he understood.
Members of the Hutch family had attended the hearing and left shortly after.