| 10.2°C Dublin

Regency murder trial is put back 5 weeks as garda's death probed

Close

Patrick Hutch (pictured) pleaded not guilty to the murder of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel in February 2016

Patrick Hutch (pictured) pleaded not guilty to the murder of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel in February 2016

Patrick Hutch (pictured) pleaded not guilty to the murder of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel in February 2016

The trial of Regency Hotel gun murder accused Patrick Hutch has been put back five weeks so an inquiry into the death of the lead investigating garda can continue.

The case, which has been before the non-jury Special Criminal Court for the past six months, was adjourned again for a "progress report" in September.

The trial has stalled since an investigation was launched into the circumstances surrounding the death of Det Supt Colm Fox.

Analysis

Mr Hutch (25), of Champions Avenue in Dublin's north inner city, pleaded not guilty to the murder of David Byrne (34) at the capital's Regency Hotel on February 5, 2016.

He also denies possessing three AK47 assault rifles.

At the last adjournment, the court heard an interim report on the inquiry was being provided to the defence in advance of getting outstanding analysis of a laptop computer, two USB devices and a mobile phone.

Defence barrister Michael O'Higgins said he had been given the interim report in the past week to 10 days and had an opportunity to read it.

The "state of play" was that the USB and handset devices had to be forensically examined, and as they were password-protected "may require going back to the manufacturer".

There was an October timeframe, but Mr O'Higgins said the defence was "a little bit concerned" at this.

"If that is what it takes, so be it," he said, but the defence wanted the case listed in early September for a progress report.

Presiding judge, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said: "That sounds reasonable."

He adjourned the case to September 3, which Sean Gillane, prosecuting, consented to.

"There has been a considerable amount of work done on the case, judge, in relation to the report," Mr O'Higgins added.

"It's given rise to various issues which are under discussion between the parties."

The Regency shooting happened at a boxing weigh-in when a man dressed as a woman and another wearing a flat cap, armed with handguns and followed by a "tactical team" of three men disguised as gardai with assault rifles, stormed the hotel.

It has been 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 adjournment is the eighth since February 2, when the court ruled admissible photo evidence purporting to identify Mr Hutch as having been at the scene of the shooting.

Det Supt Fox was found dead in Ballymun Garda Station last February 10.

His official firearm was recovered at the scene. Foul play was not suspected, and it was treated as a personal tragedy.