herald

Saturday 22 September 2018

Regency trial delay as laptop and phone are probed in garda death

Patrick Hutch is on trial
Patrick Hutch is on trial

The trial of Regency Hotel gun murder accused Patrick Hutch has been delayed again so a mobile phone, laptop computer and two USB devices can be analysed in an inquiry into the lead investigating garda's death.

The case, which has been before the Special Criminal Court for the past six months was adjourned again yesterday, for another three weeks.

The trial has been stalled for months after an inquiry was launched into the circumstances surrounding the death in February of Det Supt Colm Fox.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding in the three-judge court, granted the latest adjournment after hearing an "extensive" interim report on the inquiry was available and could be given to the defence.

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

He also denies possessing three AK-47 assault rifles.

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

Consequeneces

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.

Yesterday, prosecutor Sean Gillane SC said there was an investigation ongoing into the circumstances and consequences of Det Supt Fox's death.

This was at a "very advanced stage", involving a significant amount of documentation, statements being taken and analysis of electronic devices.

There were "some outstanding matters" in relation to the electronic devices that related to two USB devices, a mobile phone and a laptop computer.

Assistance was required from external sources - the manufacturer - to gain access to the phone, Mr Gillane said.

An interim report had been prepared and the final report would take three months, until the end of September.

Mr Gillane proposed disclosing the interim report and background information to the defence team by tomorrow.

Michael O'Higgins SC, defending, said he thought this was "sensible" as the defence would know "where we are at the moment".

The case was adjourned to July 30.

Yesterday's adjournment is the seventh since the court ruled admissible photo evidence purporting to identify Mr Hutch as having been at the scene.

This latest delay comes after notes were handed in to court in February that were "authored by" the late Det Supt Fox.

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

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

Three days later, Judge Hunt adjourned the case after being told of the tragedy.

On February 19, Mr O'Higgins said new material had been provided, which the defence needed more time to consider.

The material had presented "unprecedented conundrums" for the prosecution, the court heard.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News