Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch and his four co-defendants in the Regency trial would be “discriminated against” if they could not move to have their charges dismissed, their lawyers said.
The defendants are seeking a dismissal of the proceedings against them on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence under Section 4E of the Criminal Procedure Act 1967
However, the Special Criminal Court must first resolve a preliminary question as to whether it has jurisdiction to hear the application.
The defendants’ lawyers said it would be “absurd” to deny them this on the grounds that they were originally charged in Dublin’s Non-Jury Court and not the District Court.
Mr Hutch and former Sinn Fein councilor Jonathan Dowdall, both charged with murder, were in court today along with three co-defendants, while there was also a notable Garda presence.
They are due to stand trial in October in connection with the 2016 fatal shooting of Kinahan gang member David Byrne at the Regency Hotel.
Senior Counsel Brendan Grehan, who defended Mr Hutch, said today it is an “absurd interpretation” of the law when the state can choose the manner in which an accused is charged and then give him the “obvious benefits” of filing of the 4E application denied.
He called this “extraordinary” and said their complaint related to the “availability of an important statutory right” to seek the dismissal of the charges before a trial.
The lawyer also said he was asking for something that went beyond the literal interpretation of the relevant section and that Mr Hutch would be “discriminated against and treated unequally” by the literal interpretation before the law.
Mr Grehan said there was “no earthly reason imaginable why this gap should occur” and there was no justification for it.
He said his client has been in pre-trial detention since September and his pre-trial detention could be terminated if the court deemed there was insufficient evidence to bring him to justice.
Senior Counsel Michael O’Higgins, defending Jonathan Dowdall, said whoever drafted the legislation “inadvertently took their eyes off the ball” and created circumstances no one intended.
He said it was “incredible” that it took 20 years for the matter to reach court and that it was safe to say the DPP never intended to gain such an “arbitrary” advantage.
Mr O’Higgins referred to the case of convicted ISIS member Lisa Smith, who was able to bring a failed motion to dismiss the charges before the non-jury. This was described by attorney as an “incidental claim” because Smith was originally charged in circuit court.
He suggested that the case be adjourned for four weeks to allow the Oireachtas to remedy the situation.
Fiona Murphy SC, for the state, said a literal interpretation of the law meant the court had no jurisdiction to consider the application.
She also said that it appeared the legislature was “very clear about the purpose”.
Presiding Judge Tara Burns said the three judges would rule on the matter next Friday.
The court also heard that the defense would also challenge certain evidence collected by Gardaí.
Gerry “The Monk” Hutch, 58, of The Paddocks in Clontarf, is charged with the murder of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel on Swords Road in Whitehall on 5 February 2016.
Former Sinn Fein councilor Jonathan Dowdall, 43, of Navan Road, Cabra, has also been charged with Byrne’s murder.
His father Patrick Dowdall, 65, also of Navan Road, Jason Bonney, 51, of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock, Dublin 15, and Paul Murphy, 60, of Cherry Avenue, Swords are each charged with a single Section 72 offense of the Criminal Justice Act 2006, replaced by Section 6 of the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act, 2009.
Mr. Hutch, wearing a white shirt, tan chinos, and a thick gray beard, sat in the dock next to Mr. Murphy and the Dowdalls while Mr. Bonney sat in the courtroom.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/gerry-hutch-bids-to-have-regency-hotel-murder-charges-thrown-out-over-insufficient-evidence-41825257.html Gerry Hutch offers to drop Regency Hotel murder charges over ‘insufficient evidence’