The Special Criminal Court has paved the way for Jonathan Dowdall to testify against Gerry Hutch in his trial for the murder of David Byrne at the Regency hotel.
The defence tried to stop him from taking the stand by claiming he turned State witness in exchange for having his own murder charge dropped.
Jonathan Dowdall will be allowed to testify against Gerry Hutch in his murder trial. The defence tried to stop him from taking the stand, claiming he made his statement in exchange for his own murder charge being dropped. The Special Criminal Court disagreed.
— Frank Greaney (@FrankGreaney) December 8, 2022
Jonathan Dowdall was also due to stand trial for the murder of David Byrne in 2016 but the charge against him was dropped just before the trial was due to begin.
It later emerged that he made a statement against Gerry Hutch. The defence says he claims that Mr Hutch effectively told him he was directly involved in the murder.
Dowdall has agreed to testify against Mr Hutch but the defence tried to prevent him from taking the stand, claiming he was doing so in exchange for his own murder charge being dropped.
The prosecution disagreed. They said the decision to accept his plea to a lesser charge wasn’t connected to his decision to testify. The defence found that hard to believe and asked the court to rule on whether he should be allowed to give evidence.
In its ruling, the court found there was no unfairness to the defence in having Dowdall take the stand. However, an issue has arisen as to whether or not he has been accepted into the Witness Protection Programme so that may need to be resolved before he can take the stand.