'Phone evidence is admissible' - Hutch murder trial judge
A murder trial judge yesterday ruled that mobile phone records alleged to show contact between defendants can be used in evidence.
The ruling came on the final day of the prosecution case against three people accused of the gun murder of Gareth Hutch.
A nephew of Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch, the 36-year-old was shot outside Avondale House on North Cumberland Street, Dublin, on May 24, 2016.
Jonathan Keogh (32), his sister Regina Keogh (41) and friend Thomas Fox (31) have all pleaded not guilty before the Special Criminal Court to murdering Mr Hutch.
Mr Fox, of Rutland Court, Dublin 1, has also denied the unlawful possession of a Markarov 9mm handgun on May 23, 2016.
Prosecutors have claimed that Mr Keogh, of Gloucester Place, Dublin 1, threatened to kill Mr Hutch the evening before the shooting.
It is alleged that Mr Fox and Ms Keogh, of Avondale House, were instrumental in planning the murder, and Mr Keogh and another man, Mr AB, were the gunmen. Mr AB is not before the court.
The court has previously been told that gardai had analysed several mobile phone numbers allegedly associated with the three defendants, and the contact the numbers had with each other around the time of the murder.
Last week, defence lawyers Sean Guerin SC and Seamus Clarke SC argued the retention of phone data and the unrestricted access by gardai to it was in contravention of EU law, and breached their clients' rights to privacy.
However, prosecutor Paul Burns SC said a person's right to privacy was not absolute and could not frustrate a murder investigation.
Mr Justice Tony Hunt ruled yesterday that the phone evidence was admissible and said the court would give written reasons later in the week.
Mr Burns then said the prosecution had completed all its evidence.
Lawyers for the accused said they had no applications to make.
During the eight-week trial, evidence was heard from protected witness Mary McDonnell, who identified Mr Keogh from CCTV as one of the shooters. She also identified Mr Keogh and Mr Fox as the men who came into her flat the night before with two guns.
Mr Keogh's ex-girlfriend Denise King gave evidence that Regina Keogh came to her home the day after the shooting, and asked her to take an envelope containing money to her brother in Belfast.
She said she asked Mr Keogh if he had shot Mr Hutch and he swore on his baby daughter's life that he hadn't killed him.
The trial resumes tomorrow, when lawyers for the prosecution and defence are expected to make closing speeches.