Kinahans and Gerard Hutch did not 'start the shooting' in feud, court hears

Kinahans And Gerard Hutch Did Not 'Start The Shooting' In Feud, Court Hears
Jonathan Dowdall (centre), the key witness in the Regency Hotel murder trial, said he agreed to approach republicans in Northern Ireland to mediate in the Hutch/Kinahan dispute. Photo: PA
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Alison O'Riordan

Ex-Sinn Fein councillor Jonathan Dowdall, a former co-accused of Gerard 'The Monk' Hutch who has become a State witness, has told the Special Criminal Court that it was neither the Kinahans nor the accused man who "started the shooting" in the Hutch/Kinahan feud.

Dowdall, the key witness in the Regency Hotel murder trial who has pleaded guilty to facilitating Kinahan cartel member David Byrne's murder, told the trial on Tuesday that he agreed to help by approaching republicans in Northern Ireland to mediate in the dispute.


At the time, he said he thought that the Kinahans "wrongfully believed" that Gary Hutch [Gerard Hutch's nephew through his older brother Patsy] was involved in trying to kill Daniel Kinahan, and that the Kinahans were also blaming Patrick Hutch, who is Gary's younger brother.

Dowdall said he believed "innocent people were trying to be killed" and would not have got involved if he had known the truth. He added: "Gerard didn't start it. It was Patsy's sons that started the shooting. It wasn't even the Kinahans."

Dowdall also told the court that Gerard Hutch lied to him during a conversation that was secretly recorded by members of the National Surveillance Unit on March 7th, 2016, about one month after the Regency shooting.

Prosecution counsel Sean Gillane SC today played clips from the 10 hours of an audio recording of conversations between Gerard Hutch and Dowdall while they were travelling north to a meeting in Strabane, Co Tyrone, on March 7th, 2016 in Dowdall's Toyota Land Cruiser jeep, that had been bugged by garda detectives. Mr Gillane asked the witness to explain parts of what was said in the recorded conversations.


'He's lying to me'

Dowdall said in one extract he was speaking to Gerard Hutch about things that were written in the newspapers about the Byrne murder and that Mr Hutch told him that the six people involved in the shooting didn't know one another.

He added: "He's lying to me saying they don't know each other. I believed they didn't know each other until people were charged and I seen the book of evidence. They are all family members and they are all his friends. I know connections to most of them. It is clear, he is telling me they don't know each other but they all know each other."

In the recorded conversation, Dowdall is heard saying that the newspapers don't have a "f***in' clue about the Regency". Dowdall says: "I don't think the police know what is being portrayed in the paper but they're saying we know who the six people are". Gerard Hutch then says "they don't know" and that "sure the f***in' six people don't even know" and that "no one f***ing knows". Gerard Hutch said that "the people that were there themselves don't fuckin know" and that it was "all speculation" looking at "the snaps" apart from "the man and woman". He added: "The cops are going around like headless chickens" and that "loads of f*** ups have after been made".

Court artist sketch of Gerry "The Monk" Hutch (right) at the Special Criminal Court for the murder of David Byrne at a hotel in Dublin in 2016. Photo: PA

Amid heightened security arrangements at the Criminal Courts of Justice today on Parkgate Street in Dublin, Dowdall gave evidence for a second day in the trial of Mr Hutch (59), last of The Paddocks, Clontarf, Dublin 3, who denies the murder of Kinahan cartel member David Byrne (33) during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel on February 5th, 2016.

Dowdall, who was wearing a navy suit and a light shirt, was brought into court by two gardaí and three prison officers through what would ordinarily be the jury entrance rather than the cells or public entrance. Facing the three accused men, who are sitting together in the dock of the non-jury court, Dowdall listened to various clips from the covert recordings of the conversation between himself and Mr Hutch.

'Three yokes'

Asked by Mr Gillane what is meant by his reference to "the three yokes", Dowdall said "that was the three guns, the three AK-47s". He said Mr Hutch had told him earlier that day that he had given the guns to the Republicans they had met with in Northern Ireland that day.

In the audio recording, accused man Gerard Hutch was heard telling Dowdall that "these three yokes we're throwin them up to them either way", in what the prosecution has said is a reference to giving the three assault rifles used in the Regency Hotel attack to republicans in the north.


Gerard Hutch could also be heard saying in the audio: "There's a present them three yokes" and that he wanted "to throw them up there to them as a present". The accused also said he had to "push him" to get "them outta the village".

Mr Gillane put it to Dowdall on Tuesday that he made reference in the audio recording to the "village" and asked him what he meant by this. Dowdall replied: "Patsy had come up to me a number of times and the thing about the CCTV was in other parts of the transcripts, repeating what Patsy told me about the CCTV. This is what Patsy told me".

The witness continued: "I was told the van that was used was parked at Buckingham Village and he [Patsy] got rid of the CCTV because of that reason. Some woman was supposed to have got rid of the CCTV, don't know who she is, he [Patsy] told me at the time he got rid of the CCTV cause he drove the van".

Dowdall confirmed to counsel that the word "village' in the audio meant Buckingham Village.


The trial has heard it was outlined in a warrant that gardai believed a Ford Transit van was used to transport the Regency assailants to and from the hotel, that this van was stored at a car park at Buckingham Village in Dublin's north inner city prior to the murder and that the keys for the Ford Transit van were left with a woman for collection.

The trial has also heard that gardai who obtained a search warrant for the home of Patrick Hutch Senior at Champions Avenue in Dublin 1 observed a key for a Ford vehicle on a key rack in the hallway of the house but did not recover it.

Sadie Byrne and James 'Jaws' Byrne were in court to hear the man who facilitated the murder of their son David testify for the State.

The trial continues this afternoon before presiding judge Ms Justice Tara Burns sitting with Judge Sarah Berkeley and Judge Grainne Malone.

Guilty plea

Dowdall (44) – a married father of four with an address at Navan Road, Cabra, Dublin 7 – was due to stand trial for Mr Byrne's murder alongside Mr Hutch but pleaded guilty in advance of the trial to a lesser charge of facilitating the Hutch gang by making a hotel room available for use by the perpetrators the night before the attack.

Dowdall – who previously served as an elected Sinn Féin councillor in the north inner city ward in May 2014 and resigned less than one year later – was jailed by the Special Criminal Court for four years for the facilitation offence.

Following Dowdall's sentence on October 3th, a nolle prosequi – a decision not to proceed – was entered on the murder charge against the former Dublin city councillor.

The status of Dowdall's Witness Protection Programme (WPP) application still remains unknown. The former electrician is being assessed for the WPP when he gets out of prison and a decision is not expected to be made about Dowdall's admittance into the programme until the middle of January next year.

Dowdall has previous convictions for false imprisonment, threatening to kill and causing serious harm from January 2015.

Dowdall's father Patrick Dowdall (65) was jailed for two years before the Regency trial started after he also admitted his part in booking the hotel room for the raiders.

Both Jonathan and Patrick Dowdall have pleaded guilty to participating in or contributing to activity intending to or being reckless as to whether such participation or contribution could facilitate the commission of a serious offence by a criminal organisation or any of its members, to wit the murder of David Byrne, by making a room available at the Regency Hotel, Drumcondra, Dublin 9 for that criminal organisation or its members, within the State on February 4th, 2016.

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The Special Criminal Court has viewed CCTV footage of what the State says is Mr Hutch making two separate journeys to Northern Ireland with Dowdall on February 20th and March 7th, 2016, just weeks after Mr Byrne was murdered.

Mr Byrne, from Crumlin, was shot dead at the hotel in Whitehall, Dublin 9 after five men, three disguised as armed gardaí in tactical clothing and carrying AK-47 assault rifles, stormed the building during the attack, which was hosting a boxing weigh-in at the time. The victim was shot by two of the tactical assailants and further rounds were delivered to his head and body.

Mr Byrne died after suffering catastrophic injuries from six gunshots fired from a high-velocity weapon to the head, face, stomach, hand and legs.

Mr Hutch's two co-accused – Paul Murphy (61), of Cherry Avenue, Swords, Co Dublin and Jason Bonney (50), of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock, Dublin 13 – have pleaded not guilty to participating in or contributing to the murder of David Byrne by providing access to motor vehicles on February 5th, 2016.

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