Regency murder accused 'confined to bed and being tube fed' as court hears he is unlikely to ever stand trial
A hospitalised Co Tyrone man fighting extradition over his alleged role in a gangland murder at a Dublin hotel is being advised on end of life care, a court heard today.
Kevin Murray's motor neuron disease is irreversible and deteriorating at such a rapid rate that he is unlikely to ever stand trial on charges linked to the killing of David Byrne, his lawyers argued.
Barrister Desmond Fahy said: "The active matter under consideration now is whether he be marked not suitable for resuscitation."
Murray, 46, was detained at his home in Townsend Street, Strabane last September under a European Arrest Warrant issued by authorities in the Irish Republic.
He is wanted in connection with the fatal gun attack at Dublin's Regency Hotel on February 5, 2016.
Byrne, a 34-year-old father of two from the Crumlin area, was shot dead when masked men dressed as Garda officers opened fire with automatic guns.
His killing ignited a deadly feud between members of the rival Kinahan and Hutch gangs.
Murray is being sought over alleged offences of murder, possession of a firearm with intent, and possession of a firearm in suspicious circumstances.
It was previously claimed in court that he had stayed overnight at the hotel in preparation for his alleged role in the shooting.
Gardai investigating the killing allege Murray can be clearly identified on CCTV footage and photographic evidence.
Another man, 24-year-old Patrick Hutch of Champions Avenue in Dublin, has already been charged with the murder.
He is alleged to have acted with the Co Tyrone man as part of the same gang.
Murray remains in hospital after being diagnosed as suffering from motor neuron disease - a rare condition that progressively damages parts of the nervous system.
A judge at Belfast Recorders' Court is assessing his fitness to stand trial, along with his physical and mental health, before any decision on whether to order his extradition.
Counsel for the Irish state contended that the question should be dealt with by the courts in Dublin.
But Mr Fahy claimed any trial will not take place before 2018.
The barrister revealed that his client now depends on a tube for feeding and cannot be discharged back to prison custody.
"My most recent instructions are that he has received a consultation from his doctor dealing with end of life care," he told the court.
Her Honour Judge Patricia Smyth heard Murray is due to give a response within days to the question of whether he should be resuscitated.
"The court will have to make a determination on whether there can ever be a situation where this man is placed on trial for these offences," Mr Fahy said.
"His condition is permanent and irreversible, it's the considered view of Mr Murray's treating physician there will be no recovery from the motor neuron disease."
It was contended that any extradition may not just be unjust and oppressive, but also potentially inhumane and degrading.
"This is a man confined to bed, unable to move any upper limbs, unable to feed himself," his lawyer continued.
"His family want to spend as much time with him as possible at the hospital in Belfast before matters reach what appears an inevitable conclusion."
Proceedings were adjourned to give Irish authorities time to decide if they want to instruct medical experts to carry out assessments.
Judge Smyth said: "If the requesting state chooses not to take that opportunity I ill require to hear oral evidence so I'm not second guessing the material in the reports."