Gerry Hutch challenging State over plan for murder trial at Special Criminal Court

Dubliner wants to be tried before judge and jury in Central Criminal Court

Dubliner Gerry Hutch has launched a challenge to the State's decision to put him on trial before the juryless Special Criminal Court for the murder of David Byrne almost six years ago.

The Irish Times has learned he lodged his challenge last Thursday, although news of it only emerged on Tuesday. Informed sources said no court date had been set for the hearing, which may delay the murder trial.

Mr Hutch, who was extradited from Spain last month to face the murder charge, wants to be tried before a judge and jury at the Central Criminal Court. He is set to argue the decision to put him on trial before the juryless Special Criminal Court is not justified.

The judicial review he has now launched, represented by Ferrys Solicitors in Dublin, names the Director of Public Prosecutions, Ireland, the Attorney General, the Minister for Justice as well as the Dáíl and Seanad as defendants.


Mr Hutch is now the second person to launch a challenge in a bid to have their trial for the murder of Mr Byrne moved from the Special Criminal Court to the Central Criminal Court.

Jonathan Dowdall has launched a High Court challenge to the jurisdiction of the non-jury Special Criminal Court to hear his trial. Mr Hutch's challenge looks set to be based on much the same grounds as Mr Dowdall's.

Mr Dowdall claims a trial before the juryless Special Criminal Court amounts to a breach of his constitutional rights and his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

He claims while the State is entitled to set up the Special Criminal Court, the Oireachtas has failed to enact legislation to permit the establishment of a permanent Special Criminal Court.

The legislation being used by the DPP to allow Mr Dowdall go before the non-jury court, was introduced in 1972 during the Troubles, it is claimed. That legislation, it is claimed, is temporary in nature, and was brought into being as an emergency provision.


Mr Hutch (58) left Ireland 5½ years ago as a feud erupted in Dublin involving the Kinahan crime gang. The charges he now faces arise from a feud-related attack targeting members of the Kinahan cartel at a boxing tournament weigh-in at the Regency Hotel, north Dublin, in February 2016.

Daniel Kinahan, the man previously named in the High Court as the leader of the Kinahan cartel, was the target of the group of gunmen who burst into the hotel and opened fire. However, he fled to safety on foot.

Kinahan associate David Byrne (34), from Crumlin, was shot dead and a number of other men were wounded but survived.

Mr Hutch was arrested in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol, Spain, in August on foot of a European arrest warrant granted by the courts in Dublin earlier this year.

A ruling by the Spanish courts in September effectively rejected his efforts to block his extradition to the Republic, clearing the way for his return to Ireland, which occurred late last month.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times