Hutch murder-accused Jonathan Keogh had ear plugs seized by gardaí for DNA evidence

Murder accused Jonathan Keogh had a pair of ear plugs seized from him by gardaí for the purpose of attaining DNA evidence after he was extradited from the UK, a trial has been told.

Hutch murder-accused Jonathan Keogh had ear plugs seized by gardaí for DNA evidence

By Alison O'Riordan

Murder accused Jonathan Keogh had a pair of ear plugs seized from him by gardaí for the purpose of attaining DNA evidence after he was extradited from the UK, a trial has been told.

Lawyers for Mr Keogh (32), who is one of three Dubliners accused of murdering Gareth Hutch (36), have argued the ear plugs are inadmissible as evidence because their seizure was unlawful.

Giving evidence today, Detective Sergeant Enda O’Sullivan told prosecuting counsel Paul Burns SC that he sought an arrest warrant for Mr Keogh on February 23, 2017 at Dublin District Court for the murder of Mr Hutch.

Det Sgt O’Sullivan said he travelled on a military aircraft plane to RAF Northolt in west London on August 23, 2017 in order to extradite Mr Keogh back to Ireland.

The witness said an army officer on board the aircraft was offering ear protection to all present. He said people had a choice whether they wanted to use the ear plugs or not. Det Sgt O’Sullivan initially declined the ear plugs but he changed his mind when the plane started due to the noise of the engine.

Deg Sgt O’Sullivan said he thought on the outbound flight that it would be a good source of DNA if Mr Keogh used a pair of ear plugs and discarded them.

He was aware gardaí did not have DNA from Mr Keogh and saw this as an opportunity to see if a sample could be taken from him, the court heard.

When the plane arrived at the Royal Air Force station, Mr Keogh was wearing handcuffs, placed on a seat and chose to use the ear protection.

Det Sgt O’Sullivan said he explained to Mr Keogh that he would be formally arrested on foot of a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) when he got off the aircraft at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnell and be brought to Clondalkin Garda Station.

The witness said he had asked a garda on the flight to seize ear plugs from Mr Keogh if he used and discarded them.

The court heard Mr Keogh later took off his ear plugs and discarded them on the seat. The ear plugs were then handed by the garda to Det Sgt O’Sullivan and he placed them in an evidence bag.

Mr Keogh was arrested when he got off the plane and brought to Clondalkin Garda Station where he was charged on suspicion of Gareth Hutch’s murder, Det Sgt O’Sullivan said.

Defence lawyer Michael Hourican BL, for Mr Keogh, argued today that the ear plugs were "necessary" on health and safety grounds and gardaí had breached Mr Keogh's constitutional rights by seizing them. He also argued that the seizure was a breach of his client's bodily integrity and right to privacy.

However, prosecuting counsel Mr Burns said the ear plugs were not necessary, but optional. Mr Burns said the ear plugs were not essential to life, 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 as evidence on Monday.

The court heard yesterday that a booking was made through Stena Line Ferries in the name of Jonathan Keogh at 12.37pm on May 25, 2016. The one-way ticket was paid by credit card and it was for the Belfast to Cairnryan (Scotland) sailing at 15.30 later that day.

The former partner of Mr Keogh, Denise King, has given evidence that they both went to the ferry port in Belfast on May 25, 2016, the day after Mr Hutch was fatally shot. Mr Keogh, she said, got the ferry to Scotland and he seemed sad when he was leaving.

Mr Hutch, nephew of Gerry "the monk" Hutch was shot dead as he was getting into his car outside Avondale House flats on North Cumberland Street in Dublin on the morning of May 24, 2016. He died as a result of four gunshot injuries.

Regina Keogh (41) with an address at Avondale House, Cumberland Street North, Dublin 1, Thomas Fox (31) with an address at Rutland Court, Dublin 1, and Jonathan Keogh of Gloucester Place, Dublin 1, have pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Hutch.

Mr Fox has also denied unlawfully possessing a Makarov 9mm handgun on May 23, 2016 at the same place.

At the opening of the trial, the prosecution told the court that the killing of Mr Hutch was not a spontaneous or spur-of-the-moment act but a “brutal and callous murder”. “It was premeditated and a significant amount of planning had gone into it,” counsel said.

The prosecution say the three co-accused each had their own part to play in bringing about the death of Mr Hutch.

The prosecution contend that Mr Keogh threatened to kill Mr Hutch the evening before the shooting, that Mr Fox and Ms Keogh were instrumental in planning the murder, and Mr Keogh and another man, Mr AB, were the shooters.

The trial continues tomorrow before Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, sitting with Judge Patricia Ryan and Judge Michael Walsh.

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