Dowdall branded ‘master manipulator’ and ‘liar’ in Hutch murder trial

Former Sinn Fein councilor Jonathan Dowdall has been branded a ‘master manipulator’ and a ‘liar’ in the murder trial of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch.

On the second day of giving evidence at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin, Dowdall was charged with telling “two big lies” in his testimony against Hutch.

Brendan Grehan, Hutch’s lead attorney, said Dowdall lied when he claimed his client had retrieved a hotel key card the night before the Regency Hotel attack and that he lied about of Hutch saying that he and a suspected Dublin criminal had shot David Byrne.

Hutch is on trial for the murder of Mr Byrne, who was shot dead at the Regency Hotel in February 2016, in one of the first deadly attacks in the Hutch-Kinahan gang feud.

Hutch, of the Paddocks, Clontarf, denied the murder charge.

Mr Grehan accused Dowdall of waiting a long time to insert his client into his account of the events surrounding the Regency shooting.

Dowdall, who was due to stand trial for murder, is serving a four-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to facilitating the murder of Mr Byrne.

He has agreed to become a state witness and is expected to participate in a witness protection program.

Dowdall admitted to facilitating Mr Byrne’s murder after he helped book a room at the hotel which was being used by one of the gunmen.

In cross-examination, Mr Grehan accused Dowdall of being a “master manipulator of situations”.

On Tuesday, Dowdall admitted he once lied to the Special Criminal Court when he claimed he didn’t know who filmed him waterboarding with a man in his home in 2015.

Dowdall was found guilty of falsely imprisoning the man who drove to his house to buy a motorbike.

He admitted he knew it was a younger family member who made the recording, but told the court he was not ready to say who it was.

Hutch, who was dressed in a dark blazer, white shirt and beige trousers, left his usual seat on the platform to see Dowdall being cross-examined by his lawyer.

Mr Grehan told Dowdall: ‘Let me be clear at the outset, my position is that you lied to this court and there are two big lies at the heart of the testimony, that Hutch recovered the key card from safety of you and your father and he confessed to you a few days later.

“Watching you give your testimony, it struck me that you seem to see yourself as a good Samaritan who people come to with a problem.”

Dowdall was also asked about his interview with broadcaster Joe Duffy in March 2016 after his home was raided by Gardai.

During the interview, he denied having any ties to crime.

Dowdall told the court on Tuesday that his life was ‘upside down’ at the time, that he was on medication and that he was ‘not thinking that day’ and that he would never have taken the call of the show.

Mr Grehan then asked Dowdall: “So it was Joe Duffy’s fault?”

Dowdall replied, “I never said it was Joe Duffy’s fault.

“A lot was going on at that time.

“Then I went on Joe Duffy but I wasn’t myself when I went on.”

Mr Grehan referred to Dowdall’s conviction for falsely imprisoning the man and said it was a ‘lie’ to claim he was not involved in organized crime or criminality.

Dowdall said he “didn’t think” about the incident when he was interviewed by the broadcaster.

He told the court he had “paid the price” for the incident, especially his wife and family.

Dowdall went on to tell the court that he was led to believe the reason for the Hutch-Kinahan feud was that Patsy Hutch’s sons were “falsely accused” of trying to kill Daniel Kinahan.

He said he later discovered that Gary and Patrick Hutch “did what they were accused of”.

Mr Grehan went on to accuse Dowdall of having a ‘very mixed relationship with the truth’.

Dowdall claimed he was told “stuff that shouldn’t have been said” about the Regency attack.

Dowdall was also asked about his bomb-making references during his conversation with Hutch on March 7, 2016, which was taped.

A recording device was installed in Dowdall’s jeep which recorded around 10 hours of conversation between the two men as they traveled to Northern Ireland.

He told the court he was asked about the timers because of his job as an electrician, but denied he was going to make a bomb.

He said any reference to a detonator and a bomb “was nonsense” and he was ashamed to talk about it.

Mr Grehan accused Dowdall of having a ‘very strange relationship with what is truth and lies’.

He told Dowdall that if something can’t be proven somehow, then “you’re saying something is just a lie”.

However, Dowdall said he didn’t make bomb timers and was “bluffing” when he said he would try to make one.

Dowdall also claimed he traveled to Co Donegal with Hutch on February 12 to meet ‘IRA men’ to fix a broken television socket.

Dowdall was pictured holding a bag and entering property belonging to Shane Rowan, who was caught with the three assault rifles used in the Regency shooting.

Dowdall told the court he was carrying a bag of tools.

Mr Grehan said: ‘Are you serious when you say you traveled from Dublin with Gerry Hutch to Donegal to meet IRA men to fix a plug?

Mr Dowdall replied that it was “the truth”.

When asked in more detail about the broken socket, Dowdall claimed that the socket was “stumbling”.

Meanwhile, Mr Grehan also told Dowdall he knew enough about the Hutch-Kinahan feud to implicate his ‘IRA friends’.

Dowdall told the court there were threats and attempted murders and demands for money.

“I was asked if they (the IRA) could go and broker a deal between the groups,” Dowdall said.

Mr Grehan said: ‘Since when did the IRA get into the mediation business?

Dowdall said the lives of Patsy Hutch and others were in danger and he wanted to prevent people from being killed and the feud with the Kinahans from escalating.

Mr Grehan also accused Dowdall of lying when he claimed Hutch had collected the hotel key card from his father, Patrick Dowdall, the night before the Regency attack.

He told Dowdall that his story had “evolved” and that it had become in his interest to incriminate Hutch.

“It’s nonsense because I wouldn’t blame anyone,” Dowdall said.

Dowdall was also asked about his conversation with Hutch in which he claims Hutch admitted to shooting Mr Byrne days after the murder.

Dowdall said Hutch never directly repeated the words about Mr Byrne’s murder again.

However, Mr Grehan accused Dowdall of lying about the allegations.

Earlier, the court heard Dowdall claim Hutch was “lying” to him when he said the six people involved in the Regency Hotel shooting did not know each other.

Dowdall also said the Kinahans did not start the gang feud that resulted in the deaths of 18 people.

Moreover, he said he knew Hutch was involved in Mr Byrne’s murder at the Regency Hotel because “he told me”.

Court artist’s sketch of Jonathan Dowdall (front left), surrounded by dock officers and police during the trial at Dublin’s Special Criminal Court of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Dowdall was questioned about recorded conversations between him and Hutch.

Some of the clips were played in court on Tuesday and Dowdall was asked to explain the content of the conversation.

He told the court he knew Hutch was one of the six people involved in the Regency attack ‘because he told me so’ and that he knew his brother, Patsy Hutch, was also involved.

He said he was later told that Kevin “Flat Cap” Murray was one of the people pictured leaving the hotel after the attack.

In the recorded conversations, Hutch is heard telling Dowdall that the six people involved did not know each other.

Sean Gillane, lead prosecution attorney, questioned Dowdall about this claim by Hutch.

“He lied to me saying they didn’t know who they were,” he said.

“I didn’t know who it was until people were charged, when I saw (sic) the book of evidence.

“It was all the family members and his friends.

“I have no connection with most of them. He told me that they don’t know each other. But they know each other.”

Gerry Hutch court case

Armed police on duty outside the Special Criminal Court in Dublin (Damien Storan/PA)

Dowdall also told the court that it was Patsy Hutch’s sons who started the feud with the Kinahans.

He told the court he agreed to help resolve the feud, but later found out that Patsy Hutch’s sons were responsible for the feud and he “didn’t know it.”

He said he didn’t find out the “real story” until he went to Wheatfield prison.

He said he believed innocent people were being killed.

The trial continues.

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