Hutch would be happy 'with just a few quid under the radar', trial hears

Special Criminal Court heard final 45 minutes of a 10-hour audio recording of conversations between Gerry Hutch and Jonathan Dowdall
Hutch would be happy 'with just a few quid under the radar', trial hears

A prison van under Garda escort arrives at the Special Criminal Court for the trial of Gerry Hutch, for the murder of Gerry Hutch. Picture: Collins Courts

The Special Criminal Court has heard a recording of Regency Hotel murder accused Gerard 'The Monk' Hutch tell  former Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall that the Kinahan cartel want "to be the biggest gang in Europe".

The court also heard Mr Hutch agreed with Dowdall when asked if he would be happy "with just a few quid under the radar", with the accused adding he doesn't want "hundreds of millions".

In conversations captured by a Garda bugging device when Dowdall and Mr Hutch allegedly travelled back from the North after meeting with republicans, Dowdall says: "It seems to me that they're just blinded by greed and they're willing to overlook everything for money".

Mr Hutch replies: "It's a bit of power as well, not just the money, it's just the bleedin' power as well".

At the non-jury court on Thursday, the final 45 minutes were played of a 10-hour audio recording of conversations between Mr Hutch and Dowdall. 

The State's case is that the men were recorded by a Garda bugging device on March 7, 2016, while allegedly driving back in Dowdall's Toyota Land Cruiser jeep from a meeting in Strabane, Co Tyrone.

The court has already heard audio where Mr Hutch said he wanted to meet the Kinahans to arrange a ceasefire and have mediation in an ongoing murderous feud, which had by then killed his brother Eddie 'Neddy' Hutch. 

Mr Hutch previously said he wanted to put the feud "to bed" and that this was the best option to avoid "war" with the rival gang, as otherwise there would be "casualties on both sides".

Eddie 'Neddy' Hutch was shot dead at his north-inner city home on February 8, 2016, in what was believed to be a revenge attack for the Regency Hotel shooting three days earlier.

'I'd be hidin' on the cops'

The audio recording heard on Thursday, which concluded three days of evidence, recommenced at 11.25pm on March 7, 2016, when Dowdall asks Mr Hutch if he missed "goin down the club" to which the accused replies: "Not really no. I'd be more concerned about the cops, I'd be hidin' on the cops".

Dowdall says: "It's a nightmare for ya".

Mr Hutch says: "They were at the airport outside the plane waitin' for me and they haven't seen me since. They seen me at the funeral".

Dowdall says: "I'd say they done your head in when they raided your gaff".

Gerry Hutch: Discussed Kinahans. File picture: Gareth Chaney Collins
Gerry Hutch: Discussed Kinahans. File picture: Gareth Chaney Collins

Mr Hutch replies: "Id say they weren't expecting me to be there, ya know".

Dowdall asks: "How hard d'ya think they'd push Gerard to get to the bottom of that?"

Mr Hutch asks: "Who?"

Dowdall says "the cops".

Mr Hutch tells Dowdall "they'll try all the avenues, I don't think they have that much to go on".

Dowdall says: "I think the best thing that happened was that Byrne funeral, that took it completely away".

Mr Hutch says: "Well it makes them fuckin' showing them what they really are. Ya know".

Dowdall says: "Yeah I put that in it as well about bleedin' them using that link like threatening other cartels abroad, sure it proves he tried to link himself with Slab".

Mr Hutch says: "Need Slab Murphy to get in the middle of it".

Dowdall says: "I'd say he's sorry he ever done this Gerard, to be honest".

Mr Hutch replies: "Ah so would I".

Dowdall says: "He should just stick to the first deal Gerard. They'd everything when ya thinking of it, they'd the whole bleeding control of everything. Their own fuckin' paranoia and power hunger. If you're in that game I wouldn't deal with them now would you?".

Mr Hutch says: "I wouldn't want anything to do with them".

Dowdall says: "Yeah, ya'd get fuckin' nicked, ya know".

Dowdall says: "Some people it's just not enough it is no matter what they get".

Mr Hutch says a "lotta people who have been in the game over the years have walked away".

Dowdall replies: "Murderin' bastards".

Mr Hutch: says "Yeah".

Dowdall asks Mr Hutch: "How did they get so strong or so big when they were two brothers and a father and the two brothers weren't fuckin' criminals as the rest of the young fellas that came up?"

Mr Hutch replies: "They used the rest of the young fellas, Daniel was a wide enough twist and do this and do that and everyone was full of promises and stuff like that, ya know, and they made a few quid but they start makin' big money about two years ago".

Dowdall says: "It seems to me that they're just blinded by greed and they're willing to overlook everything for the money".

Mr Hutch replies: "It's a bit of power as well, not just the money, it's just the bleedin' power as well".

'With the Kinahans, it's power'

Dowdall says: "With the Kinahans it's power yeah".

The accused said: "They want to be the biggest gang in Europe, the Columbians and everyone come to them".

Dowdall asks Mr Hutch if he would be happy "with just a few quid Gerard, under the radar"

Mr Hutch says "yeah" and that he doesn't want "hundreds of millions".

Dowdall asks: "I don't think any country would let them in now, Gerard, do you?"

The accused says: "What?"

Dowdall says: "I'd say any country they go to in Europe they be scourged in it till they leave, d'ya know what I mean".

In another clip, the court heard Dowdall laughing says " All the Garda seem to want outta this is their bleedin' sub machine guns back d'ya know what I mean".

Mr Hutch replies: "Yeah, their overtime" and then says: Them sub machine guns, them Uzi's and all that, they're all lethal. They're no good".

Dowdall says: "They're not worth a bollix".

Mr Hutch says: "They're dangerous fucking things now the other ones, them heckler".

Dowdall says: "They're the ones they want back Gerard, is it?"

Mr Hutch says "probably".

Dowdall says "the Uzi's are all lethal, there's no controlling them Uzi's, they just spray all over the kip".

Former Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall. File picture
Former Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall. File picture

Dowdall asks the accused: "We wanna try to find out where that c*** is that tried to get you in Spain and we up Saturday. I'll take a trip over and show him, will I?"

Mr Hutch says "yes" and Dowdall tells him he can "cancel at any time".

Dowdall says: "I'd say by Friday night we'll hear what the story is, they said they're goin' to meet them in the next day or two".

Mr Hutch says: "I'd say so yeah".

Dowdall asks: "Will Kinahan meet them?"

Mr Hutch says: "I'll say he'll meet them in London" and that "you wouldn't know with them, ya know they could be playin' both sides of the coin".

Dowdall says: "No, they're not gonna do that Gerard".

Mr Hutch says: "They're gonna put this to bed on both sides".

Dowdalls insists: "No they wouldn't do it to ya, I'm telling ya they won't do that. I know for a fact they won't do it. I bet me life on it".

Dowdall then says: "They'd fuck too many people over if they do that Gerard".

Dowdall also tells Mr Hutch "no get that outta your head they wouldn't do that guaranteed, not a fuckin' chance".

Dowdall later says: "I will get in touch with Mary in the morning, see Pierce Thursday, will I do that, run everything by him that's been happening up there".

Mr Hutch says: "No harm, yeah".

Dowdall says: "And then try and get up to them Friday or something".

Dowdall then changes the conversation and says: "It's hard to talk to normal people when you've all that other stuff goin' on". Mr Hutch agrees.

Dowdall tells Mr Hutch he keeps "changin' the chip" in his phone and that every night he hides the chip.

Dowdall tells the accused: "They said to Patsy, give us the code off the phone".

Mr Hutch says: "I wouldn't give them the code, if they broke into the phone, it'd be inadmissible".

Dowdall says "even when they delete the texts its still on the phone" and that he "wouldn't leave [his] phone lyin' around".

Transcripts 'part of the core' of State's case

Transcripts of the recordings, which are are being relied on by the prosecution, were displayed on several screens in the courtroom and have been described as "part of the core" of State's case in the trial of Mr Hutch, 59, last of The Paddocks, Clontarf, Dublin 3, who denies the murder of Kinahan Cartel member David Byrne, 33, during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel on February 5, 2016.

Last week, the three judges ruled they would listen to the 10 hours of conversations between Mr Hutch and Dowdall that were captured by gardaí, despite having heard Dowdall's bugged jeep had been outside of the State during the majority of the recordings.

Mr Hutch’s defence lawyer, Brendan Grehan SC, has submitted that their "core argument" would be that gardaí were aware Dowdall's jeep was outside the jurisdiction for eight of the 10 hours of those recordings from March 7, 2016, and the evidence harvested from that "illicit fruit" should be excluded from the trial.

The non-jury court has now heard the 10 hours of audio recordings which began at 2.20pm on Monday, March 7, 2016, leading into the early hours of Tuesday, March 8. 

On Thursday afternoon, the court will begin hearing legal argument from counsel on both sides as part of a 'voir dire' — a 'trial within a trial' — before the three judges rule on the admissibility of its contents, having regard to the extraterritoriality issue.

The Special Criminal Court has viewed CCTV footage of what the State says is Mr Hutch making two separate journeys to Northern Ireland with Dowdall on February 20 and March 7, 2016, just weeks after Mr Byrne was murdered.

CCTV footage

CCTV footage has been shown to the court of Mr Hutch getting into the front passenger seat of Dowdall's Land Cruiser at 2.23pm on March 7 at Kealy's pub of Cloghran on the Swords Road. 

Further CCTV footage showed the jeep at the Maldron Hotel in Belfast at 5.35pm that evening. Another clip showed the jeep returning to Kealy's car park at 12.15 in the early hours of the morning on March 8, where Mr Hutch gets out of the jeep and into a BMW.

The State's case is that Mr Hutch had asked Jonathan Dowdall to arrange a meeting with his provisional republican contacts to mediate or resolve the Hutch-Kinahan feud due to the threats against the accused's family and friends.

Jonathan Dowdall, 44,  a married father of four with an address at Navan Road, Cabra, Dublin 7, was due to stand trial for Mr Byrne's murder alongside Gerard Hutch but pleaded guilty in advance of the trial to a lesser charge of facilitating the Hutch gang by making a hotel room available ahead of the murder.

Dowdall has been jailed by the Special Criminal Court for four years for facilitating the Hutch gang in the notorious murder of Kinahan Cartel member David Byrne.

The former Dublin councillor is currently being assessed for the witness protection programme after agreeing to testify against former co-accused Gerard Hutch, who is charged with Mr Byrne's murder.

Mr Byrne, from Crumlin, was shot dead at the hotel in Whitehall, Dublin 9, after five men, three disguised as armed gardaí in tactical clothing and carrying AK-47 assault rifles, stormed the building during the attack, which was hosting a boxing weigh-in at the time. The victim was shot by two of the tactical assailants and further rounds were delivered to his head and body.

Mr Byrne died after suffering catastrophic injuries from six gunshots fired from a high-velocity weapon to the head, face, stomach, hand and legs.

Mr Hutch's two co-accused — Paul Murphy, 61, of Cherry Avenue, Swords, Co Dublin, and Jason Bonney, 50, of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock, Dublin 13, have pleaded not guilty to participating in or contributing to the murder of David Byrne by providing access to motor vehicles on February 5, 2016.

The trial continues on Thursday afternoon before Ms Justice Tara Burns sitting with Judge Sarah Berkeley and Judge Grainne Malone.

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