Dowdall phone records give ‘no clear opportunity’ to meet Hutch on a date proposed for confession

Analyst gives evidence on relating to timeline of meeting where confession allegedly took place

An intelligence analyst has told the Special Criminal Court that phone records give no “clear opportunity” for Jonathan Dowdall to have met Gerard ‘The Monk’ Hutch on one of the dates the ex-Sinn Fein councillor proposed the accused “confessed” his direct involvement in the murder of David Byrne.

However, phone analyst Sarah Skedd, who is to be one of the State’s final witnesses, said on Friday that it is possible “this meeting” in a Dublin park took place on the previous day – Sunday February 7th, 2016 – as call records for Dowdall’s phone show that a cell located on Collins Avenue in Whitehall “oriented in such a direction as to potentially give coverage to the park” was used at 3.16pm.

During his lengthy cross-examination, Dowdall told the court that the meeting took place on either February 7th or February 8th and that he was not “a hundred per cent sure which day it was”.

Ms Skedd said that none of the phone numbers that contacted Dowdall’s phone [on Sunday February 7th] stood out as having potentially been used by Gerard Hutch but it was possible that contact took place over internet-based applications.


Gerard Hutch (59), last of The Paddocks, Clontarf, Dublin 3, denies the murder of Kinahan Cartel member David Byrne (33) during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel on February 5th, 2016.

Mr Hutch’s two co-accused – Paul Murphy (61), of Cherry Avenue, Swords, Co Dublin and Jason Bonney (52), of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock, Dublin 13 have pleaded not guilty to participating in or contributing to the murder of Mr Byrne by providing access to motor vehicles on February 5th, 2016.

In his direct evidence on December 12th, Dowdall testified that Gerard Hutch told him in a park several days after the Regency attack, in or around Monday February 8 2016, that he and another man had shot Mr Byrne at the hotel.

Brendan Grehan SC, defending Mr Hutch, told Dowdall in his cross-examination on December 13th that the defence position was the witness had told “two big lies” to the court in his direct evidence, namely that Gerard Hutch had collected keys cards for a room at the Regency Hotel from Dowdall and his father on Richmond Road on February 4th, 2016 and that Mr Hutch had “confessed” to him in a park in Whitehall several days later about his direct involvement in the murder of Mr Byrne.

On Tuesday of this week under cross-examination, Det Gda Cathal Connolly, who had interviewed Dowdall, agreed with Mr Grehan that Dowdall had “seemed to nail down” that the meeting in the park took place on the same day Eddie Hutch was murdered on Monday February 8th, 2016 and that the meeting took place between 11am and 12pm on the day.

Dowdall agreed with Mr Grehan on his final day of cross-examination that he claimed he had met Gerard Hutch on Monday February 8th, 2016, the day Mr Hutch’s brother Eddie ‘Neddy’ Hutch was killed. Dowdall said “it was the Sunday [February 7] or the Monday [February 8], I’m not a hundred per cent sure which day it was”.

The trial will continue on Friday afternoon before Ms Justice Tara Burns sitting with Judge Sarah Berkeley and Judge Grainne Malone.

Dowdall (44) was due to stand trial for Mr Byrne’s murder alongside Gerard 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 was jailed by the Special Criminal Court for four years for the facilitation offence. Following his sentence on October 3rd, a nolle prosequi – a decision not to proceed – was entered on the murder charge against the former Dublin city councillor.