Regency Hotel shooting trial adjourned for three months

Trial of Patrick Hutch delayed due to Garda inquiry into death of lead investigator in case

Detective Superintendent Colm Fox: found dead at Ballymun Garda station. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Detective Superintendent Colm Fox: found dead at Ballymun Garda station. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

 

The Regency Hotel shooting trial has been adjourned for a further three months to allow an inquiry into the death of Detective Superintendent Colm Fox to conclude.

Supt Fox, who had been the lead investigator into the fatal shooting, was found dead at Ballymun Garda station on February 10th.

Patrick Hutch (25) of Champions Avenue, Dublin 1, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of David Byrne (34) at the Regency Hotel in Dublin on February 5thth, 2016.

He also denies possessing three AK47 assault rifles in connection with the shooting.

Senior prosecuting counsel Sean Gillane SC told the Special Criminal Court on Thursday that “considerable progress” had been made in the inquiry into Supt Fox’s death.

He said that a “number of separate themes” had been established to each different strand of the inquiry which included the examination of documentary material, electronic data and the taking of relevant witness statements.

Michael O’Higgins SC, for Mr Hutch, said that the adjournment was “inevitable”.

He asked for liberty to apply if the matter does not proceed quickly enough.

The defence was not resisting the adjournment, he said.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, said that the adjournment was “realistic” and the court would “see what happens in the interim”.

Mr O’Higgins also noted a “potential difficulty” in the case which was that the credibility of witnesses is a “live issue” and that the defence should have had some material before legal argument started.

He said he was “just flagging there is a live issue”.

Mr Justice Hunt, presiding, sitting with Judge Patricia Ryan and Judge Ann Ryan, remanded Mr Hutch in custody until July 9th, when the case is listed for mention again.

This was the fifth adjournment in the case.

The trial had previously been adjourned last month after notes written by the late superintendent were handed into the court and read by the three judges.

Two weeks earlier, the trial had been adjourned when the defence had requested to be provided with copies of emails exchanged between four gardaí involved in the case.

The court has previously heard that the shooting took place during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel, when a man dressed as a woman and another wearing a flat cap, armed with handguns, followed by three people dressed in tactical-style garda uniforms and carrying assault rifles, raided the venue.

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.