Gerard 'The Monk' Hutch was one of two gunmen disguised in tactical gear who shot Kinahan Cartel member David Byrne in a "brutal and callous execution" as the victim scrambled on the ground of the Regency Hotel amongst "complete carnage", and should be convicted of murder, the prosecution has told his trial at the Special Criminal Court.
Fiona Murphy submitted in her closing speech that portions of a secretly recorded 10-hour conversation between Mr Hutch and ex-Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall clearly showed the accused was "the man in charge".
Ms Murphy said the covert recordings show Mr Hutch had authority over the AK-47 rifles used in the attack and was seeking someone to assist in diffusing the aftermath of the very serious situation that developed. She said that Mr Hutch was talking about the movement of the weapons at a crucial time in which they ultimately ended up in transit and seized by gardaí from convicted IRA man Shane Rowan just two days later.
Ms Murphy said there was "no denial or pushback" from Mr Hutch in the audio against implications that he was centrally involved in the Regency attack.
However, Brendan Grehan, defending Mr Hutch, argued on Wednesday in his closing address that the prosecution case against his client stands or falls on whether the Special Criminal Court can believe the evidence of the "proven and admitted liar and perjurer" Jonathan Dowdall.
Mr Grehan told the court that Dowdall is a "master manipulator" who decided he would give evidence against Mr Hutch to get his own charge of murdering David Byrne dropped.
Counsel said the only evidence against Mr Hutch, besides Dowdall's "flawed" testimony, is an eight-hour audio recording of conversations between Mr Hutch and Dowdall in which the prosecution alleges the accused made tacit admissions about his role in the shooting at the Regency Hotel.
Mr Grehan submitted: "I challenge anyone to find any unambiguous admission to involvement in the Regency anywhere in the transcript." He said there were lots of references in those recordings that contradicted the prosecution case and while there were numerous references where a court could conclude that the "Hutch gang" were involved in the Regency attack, he said, "the Hutch gang cannot be equated with Gerard Hutch".
He said that the prosecution had suggested the tapes showed that on March 7, 2016, Mr Hutch had control over the guns used in the Regency attack when he was allegedly bringing them north to gift them to the IRA. But, Mr Grehan said, this was more than one month after the Regency and, he added:
Ms Murphy said the prosecution accepted that Dowdall - the State's witness - was a man who had a "serious conviction" for a "disgusting" separate crime but this did not mean the judges could not believe his claim that the accused had confessed to the killing.
Gerard Hutch, 59, last of The Paddocks, Clontarf, Dublin 3, denies the murder of Mr Byrne, 33, during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel on February 5, 2016.
Mr Hutch's two co-accused - Paul Murphy, 61, of Cherry Avenue, Swords, Co. Dublin, and Jason Bonney, 52, of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock, Dublin 13, have pleaded not guilty to participating in or contributing to the murder of Mr Byrne by providing access to motor vehicles on February 5, 2016.