herald

Tuesday 20 November 2018

DNA from Keogh's ear plugs 'not admissable'

Jonathan Keogh and Thomas Fox are accused of murdering Gareth Hutch who was shot in 2016
Jonathan Keogh and Thomas Fox are accused of murdering Gareth Hutch who was shot in 2016

A pair of ear plugs seized by gardai for DNA evidence when murder accused Jonathan Keogh discarded them after he was extradited to Ireland are inadmissible, his lawyers argued at his trial yesterday.

Mr Keogh (32) fled Dublin shortly after he allegedly murdered Gareth Hutch, first to Belfast, and then taking a ferry to Cairnryan in Scotland.

He is one of three Dubliners on trial for the murder of Mr Hutch who was shot dead in the car park of an inner city flats complex in May 2016.

Rights

A European Arrest Warrant (EAW) was later issued for Mr Keogh and he was extradited back to Ireland in August 2017.

He was flown in a military plane from RAF Northolt in west London to Baldonnel.

A senior detective has told the trial he was aware gardai did not have Jonathan Keogh's DNA. He believed that if Mr Keogh discarded his ear plugs, this would be an "opportunity" for gardai to obtain his DNA.

Lawyers for Mr Keogh have argued that the ear plugs were "necessary" and seizing them was a breach of his constitutional rights.

Murder victim Gareth Hutch.
Murder victim Gareth Hutch.

Mr Keogh, along with his sister Regina (41) and friend Thomas Fox (31) have denied before the Special Criminal Court the murder of Mr Hutch (36) on May 24, 2016.

Mr Hutch, a nephew of crime lord Gerry "The Monk" Hutch, was shot dead outside Avondale House flats on North Cumberland Street. Detective Sergeant Enda O'Sullivan said that on August 24, 2017, he travelled to RAF Northolt in west London to extradite Mr Keogh back to Ireland.

Sgt O'Sullivan said that Mr Keogh was flown in an Irish military air corps plane back to Baldonnel.

He added that at RAF Northolt, Mr Keogh was offered plugs for ear protection, and he chose to use them.

On arrival at Baldonnel, Sgt O'Sullivan said Mr Keogh took out the ear plugs and discarded them on the seat.

The sergeant asked another garda to collect the ear plugs, and they were placed in a blue rubber glove and retained as evidence.

Defence lawyer Michael Hourican argued the ear plugs were "necessary" on health and safety grounds and that gardai had breached Mr Keogh's rights to bodily integrity and right to privacy by seizing them.

Paul Burns, for the prosecution, claimed the ear plugs were not necessary but optional, and while it may have been "advisable" to use them, it was not "necessary".

The three-judge court said they would rule on the admissibility of the ear plugs on Monday.

It is the State's case that Mr Keogh, of Gloucester Place, Dublin 1, threatened to kill Mr Hutch the evening before the shooting.

It is alleged that Mr Fox, of Rutland Court, Dublin 1, and Ms Keogh, of Avondale House, were instrumental in planning the murder and that Mr Keogh and another man were the shooters. The trial continues.

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