Updated: 22/02/18 : 14:49:06
Printable Version   Bookmark and Share Share This


Hutch trial adjourned over death of lead investigator

The Regency Hotel shooting trial has been adjourned for a month this morning to allow completion of an investigation into the circumstances of the death of Detective Superintendent Colm Fox, who had been the lead investigator into the fatal shooting at the hotel over two years ago, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

Notes written by the late superintendent were handed into the court and read by the three judges.

The trial had previously been adjourned on Monday after the non-jury court heard that material in the case had presented some "unprecedented conundrums".

This was after an earlier adjournment, almost two weeks ago, when the defence had requested to be provided with copies of emails exchanged between four gardai involved in the case.

Patrick Hutch (aged 25) of Champions Avenue, Dublin 1, is pleading not guilty to the murder of David Byrne (aged 34) at the Regency Hotel in Dublin on February 5, 2016.

He also denies possessing three AK47 assault rifles in connection with the shooting.

At this morning's brief sitting, prosecuting counsel Sean Gillane SC asked the court to receive and read some material, which was not opened to the court.

The material was "notes authored by the late superintendent", the court heard.

Mr Gillane said these would "provide context" for the court regarding an application he would make.

The court rose and the three judges read the notes.

When the judges returned, Mr Gillane said that there is a separate investigation ongoing into the "circumstances of Colm Fox's passing".

"It's felt having considered the matter carefully, it would be safer from everyone's perspective to allow the investigation be completed before the trial will proceed," the barrister said.

"In this circumstance, it would be safer to adjourn the trial," he said.

Mr Gillane added that an adjournment seemed to be the "safest path forward, to make sure no-one is taken by surprise by anything".

"It is an investigation that would arise in the normal course of events," he said, adding that it would be "wiser to proceed once that's completed".

Michael O'Higgins SC, for Mr Hutch, said he had no objection to the trial being adjourned.

Previously, he told the court that the defence will be applying to have the trial "adjourned outright".

Mr Justice Tony Hunt said that in the circumstances the court would "say no more" and adopt the course suggested by counsel, adjourning the matter for mention to March 22.

The court has previously heard that the shooting took place during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel, when a man dressed as a woman and another wearing a flat cap, armed with handguns, followed by three people dressed in tactical-style garda uniforms and carrying assault rifles, raided the venue.

It is the prosecution's case that Mr Hutch was the man dressed as a woman and that he did not shoot Mr Byrne but was part of a "shared intention" to commit the offence.