Regency shooting trial: judge rules key evidence is admissible

Counsel for accused had argued way in which his client was identified was ‘sullied and tainted’

Patrick Hutch is on trial for the murder of David Byrne (34) during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel, Dublin on February 5th 2016.

Patrick Hutch is on trial for the murder of David Byrne (34) during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel, Dublin on February 5th 2016.

 

Judges at the Special Criminal Court trial of Patrick Hutch, who is accused of the murder of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel almost two years ago, have ruled that key prosecution evidence identifying the accused is admissible.

The defence had objected to evidence that two detectives, Fergal O’Flaherty and Jonathan Brady, “immediately recognized” Mr Hutch as a man dressed as a woman and holding a gun in a photo that had been taken outside the hotel on the day of the fatal shooting there.

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

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

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.

The shooting took place during a boxing weigh-in at the hotel, the court has heard, when the 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.

Last week, during five days of legal argument, Michael O’Higgins SC, for Mr Hutch, argued the circumstances in which the detectives identified his client were “sullied and tainted”.

Ruling on the evidence on Friday morning Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding at the three-judge court, said there was no evidence the detectives were together when they made the identification and that the process was therefore contaminated.

The detectives have told the court that they made their identification separately.

The judge said the recognitions had “not crossed the border into territory where they were so contaminated as to be excluded”.

The trial continues.