The life of a former Sinn Fein adviser is in ‘significant’ danger after agreeing to be a witness in the murder trial of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch for a fatal shooting at a Dublin hotel in 2016.
Former councilor Jonathon Dowdall, 44, told a Dublin court he was willing to give evidence in Hutch’s trial for the murder of David Byrne – as the politician was sentenced to four years in jail for facilitating the murder.
Jonathon Dowdall and his father, Patrick Dowdall, 64, admitted helping a criminal gang carry out the murder of Mr Byrne in February 2016. Patrick Dowdall was jailed for two years for his role in the murder.
The pair sat side by side outside Dublin’s Special Criminal Court without a jury on Monday.
Mr Byrne, 34, was shot dead by AK-wielding gunmen at Dublin’s Regency Hotel during a boxing weigh-in in one of the first attacks in the Hutch-Kinahan gang feud, which has leaves at least 18 dead.
Former councilor Jonathon Dowdall, 44, (pictured) told a Dublin court he was ready to give evidence in Hutch’s trial for the murder of David Byrne – as the politician was sentenced to four years jail for facilitating the murder.
Gerry Hutch is charged in the Regency Hotel shooting that killed Kinahan gang member David Byrne (file image, taken in 2016)
David Byrne was shot six times by AK armed assassins inside Dublin’s Regency Hotel in 2016
Jonathan Dowdall has said he is willing to testify and testify in the trial of Hutch, who is charged with the murder of Mr Byrne.
He will enter the witness protection program following his decision to cooperate with gardai.
Jonathon Dowdall was to stand trial for the murder; however, he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of facilitating the offense by booking a room at the hotel.
Security at the court was tightened on Monday, with armed officers outside the building and additional security inside and outside the courtroom.
Judge Tony Hunt said Jonathan Dowdall’s life and the lives of those close to him had been “turned upside down (and made) more onerous and dangerous” under all possible circumstances after his decision to testify.
Mr Dowdall has four children between the ages of 11 and 25, the court heard.
The judge said he accepts that there is an “immediate and lasting” effect in providing assistance to authorities in the murder trial and that it will also put Jonathan Dowdall and his extended family in “significant danger”, which will continue after his release from prison.
The court previously heard that one of the more extreme consequences of becoming a state witness would include ‘never returning to Ireland’ or returning to ‘clandestine circumstances’.
But the judge today said that did not warrant a full suspended sentence.
Referring to his 2015 conviction for kidnapping and torturing a man, the judge said Jonathan Dowdall was not a person of good character.
Sentencing Patrick Dowdall to a two-year sentence, the judge said he would be caught up in his son’s decision to become a prosecution witness.
He also said Patrick Dowdall made no attempt to “cover up or disguise” his actions and involvement in the crime.
The pair will not begin their custodial sentences for two weeks and will remain under protective custody until then to allow them to get their affairs in order.
Mr Byrne’s mother and other family members were in court on Monday for sentencing.
Mr Byrne, 34, was shot dead by AK-wielding gunmen at Dublin’s Regency Hotel during a boxing weigh-in in one of the first attacks in the Hutch-Kinahan gang feud, which has leaves at least 18 dead. Pictured: Mr Byrne’s mother, Sadie, leaving Dublin Criminal Courts on Monday after sentencing
The hearing was told that Dowdall and his father had been involved in booking a hotel room at the Regency the day before the murder.
CCTV showed the coin being used by IRA-linked Kevin ‘Flatcap’ Murray, who the court said was revealed in footage as one of the figures involved in the Regency attack.
Mr Murray died in 2017 after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease.
Defense attorneys for Jonathon and Patrick Dowdell previously told the court they were unaware the hotel room would be used in an attack.
Michael O’Higgins SC told the court it was a Garda theory that the Dowdalls had been ‘used in this process’ in order to book the room at the Regency Hotel the day before the fatal attack.
The defense argued that Jonathan Dowdall had been “somewhat compromised” by his family’s familiar relationship with the Hutch family.
The court heard Dowdall’s mother had been a neighbor of Gerry Hutch and the families had interacted over loans, bookings and boxing clubs.
Detective Sergeant Patrick O’Toole previously told the court he believed Jonathan Dowdall was “sincere and genuine” in his cooperation with Gardai, and that the offer to be a state witness was an “ongoing process.” course right now”.
Asked whether Dowdall had “indicated a willingness to testify” in court, Mr O’Toole said yes.
Hutch, 59, will stand trial on Tuesday for the murder of Mr Byrne, who was the younger brother of Liam Byrne – identified by police as the chief operating officer of the Kinahan gang in Ireland.
It is believed Liam was at the hotel with Daniel Kinahan – believed to be the target of the shooting – but the couple escaped.
Paul Murphy, 60, of Cabra Road, and Jason Bonney, 50, of Drumnigh Wood in Portmarnock, are also due to stand trial.