Detective ‘immediately recognised’ Patrick Hutch in Regency photo

Murder trial hears from detective who interviewed accused after he was shot in 2014

Det Jonathan Brady leaving the Special Criminal Court in Dublin. Photograph: Collins Courts

Det Jonathan Brady leaving the Special Criminal Court in Dublin. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

A detective “immediately recognised” a man dressed as a woman in a photograph as Patrick Hutch, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

The photograph had been taken outside the Regency Hotel in Dublin on the day of a fatal shooting.

The shooting had happened during a boxing weigh-in at the hotel, when a man dressed as a woman and another wearing a flat cap, both armed with handguns, raided the venue, followed by three people dressed in tactical-style Garda uniforms and carrying assault rifles.

Mr Hutch (25), of Champions Avenue, Dublin 1, is pleading not guilty to the murder of David Byrne (34) at the Regency Hotel in Dublin on February 5th, 2016.

It is the prosecution’s case that Mr Hutch was the man dressed as a woman and that he did not shoot Mr Byrne but was part of a “shared intention” to commit the offence.

Mr Hutch also denies possessing three AK47 assault rifles in connection with the fatal shooting.

Michael O’Higgins SC, for Mr Hutch, told the court on Wednesday morning that the defence is objecting to evidence that two detectives identified his client as the man dressed as the woman.

The evidence is therefore being heard in voir dire – or a “trial within a trial” – to help the three judges determine its admissibility.

‘He is a Hutch’

Det Jonathan Brady told prosecuting counsel Sean Gillane SC that two days after the fatal shooting he went with his colleague, Det Fergal O’Flaherty, to Ballymun Garda station, where they viewed a picture of two people outside the hotel.

Det Brady said his colleague looked at the picture and said: “I know that person; I’m saying nothing.”

He said Det O’Flaherty then came from behind the desk and left the room.

Det Brady then went around to the other side of the desk and looked at the picture, the court heard. He said that he “immediately recognised the person on the left as Patrick Hutch” and that he was “the accused before the court”.

The detective said he knew Mr Hutch’s family and also the accused man.

The court heard that, in August 2014, Mr Hutch attended the Mater hospital as a result of gunshot wounds, and the detective spoke to him that evening. Mr Hutch refused to give information.

Det Brady said that over the following weeks he met Mr Hutch again, asking him what had happened, but that Mr Hutch would not tell him.

He arrested the accused man on March 2nd, 2015, and interviewed him twice, the court heard.

Under cross-examination, the detective agreed with Mr O’Higgins that Mr Hutch had no previous convictions but was “well-known” to gardaí.

“There is no way of avoiding the reality, he is a Hutch,” the barrister said.

The detective agreed.

“And that has a certain resonance for An Garda Síochána, ” Mr O’Higgins said.

“We certainly have an interest in some of the Hutches,” the detective said.

Family tree

Mr O’Higgins then listed some of the references to the accused man in the Garda Pulse system.

He said when his client’s father had visited a Garda station in 1999 to get a passport, his three children’s names were put on the passport. Patrick Hutch was seven years old at the time.

The detective agreed that gardaí had been keeping information on Patrick Hutch and that there is a “family tree” in the Pulse records referring to the accused man’s brother, Gary Hutch, who was shot dead in Spain.

The court heard that there were 37 incidents related to Patrick Hutch recorded in Pulse, and that “almost all of them”, with the exception of the gunshot injury, were “pretty small stuff”, including numerous drug searches and an incident when Mr Hutch’s presence outside a pub was “just simply noted”.

The detective agreed that these records were kept to “build up a profile” on the accused man.

Mr O’Higgins then referred to the statements made by Det Brady and Det O’Flaherty seven days after the Regency shooting.

Both statements were read to the court.

The detective accepted that the statements were “very similar”.

“Is that a coincidence?” Mr O’Higgins asked.

Det Brady said the statements were dealing with the same events and both he and Det O’Flaherty knew Mr Hutch for “pretty much the same reasons”.

The trial continues.