Regency trial adjourned after late investigating detective’s notes handed in
Prosecution says it would be ‘safer’ to allow inquiry into Colm Fox’s death finish before proceeding
The Regency shooting trial has been adjourned after notes written by the late detective Colm Fox were handed in to the court. Photoraph: Collins
The Regency Hotel shooting trial has been adjourned for a month to allow the completion of an investigation into the circumstances of the death of Detective Supt Colm Fox, who had been the lead investigator into the fatal shooting.
Notes written by the late garda were handed into the Special Criminal Court on Thursday and read by the three judges.
The trial had been adjourned on Monday after the non-jury court heard that material in the case had presented some “unprecedented conundrums”.
This was after an earlier adjournment, almost two weeks ago, when the defence requested to be provided with copies of emails exchanged between four gardaí involved in the case.
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 5th, 2016. He also denies possessing three AK47 assault rifles in connection with the shooting.
The trial has heard that the shooting took place during a boxing weigh-in 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.
Prosecuting counsel Seán Gillane SC on Thursday asked the court to receive and read some material, which was not opened to the court. This material was “notes authored by the late superintendent”.
Mr Gillane said these would “provide context” for the court regarding an application he would make. The court rose and the three judges read the notes.
When the judges returned, Mr Gillane said there was a separate investigation ongoing into the “circumstances of Colm Fox’s passing”.
“It’s felt having considered the matter carefully, it would be safer from everyone’s perspective to allow the investigation be completed before the trial will proceed,” he said.
Mr Gillane added that an adjournment seemed to be the “safest path forward, to make sure no-one is taken by surprise by anything”.
Michael O’Higgins SC, for Mr Hutch, said he had no objection to the trial being adjourned. Previously, he told the court the defence would be applying to have the trial “adjourned outright”.
Mr Justice Tony Hunt said in the circumstances the court would “say no more” and adopt the course suggested by counsel, adjourning the matter for mention to March 22nd.