This week seen the return to Ireland of feared alleged gang boss Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch.
He landed back in the country to face trial over the Regency Hotel shooting.
The military aircraft carrying Hutch touched down at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel last night where he was arrested before being transported to the Special Criminal Court in Dublin under armed escort.
‘The Monk’ (58) had been hiding out in the Fuengirola area of southern Spain since a European Arrest Warrant was issued for him in April over the murder of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel in 2016.
Last night he appeared in court charged in relation to the gangland murder of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel over five years ago.
Dubliner Gerry Hutch has appeared before the Special Criminal Court charged with the murder of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel in 2016.
The 58-year-old appeared before the court in Dublin after his extradition from Spain earlier on Wednesday.
Wearing a white shirt and cream blazer, brown trousers and black shoes, and having grown his hair and a beard since he was last photographed in Spain just over one month ago, Mr Hutch only spoke one word, “yes”, during the hearing to confirm his name.
Presiding judge, Mr Justice Tony Hunt, set a trial date of October 3rd, 2022, and the court was told the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had directed the trial take place before the Special Criminal Court, which sits without a jury.
Mr Hutch was remanded in custody until Friday, October 15th.
Det Supt Paul Scott of Ballymun Garda station told the court he arrested Mr Hutch at 7.12pm on Wednesday at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel, Co Dublin.
The court was told Mr Hutch was taken to the Courts of Criminal Justice in Dublin city where Det Supt Scott charged him with the murder of Mr Byrne at the Regency Hotel, Swords Road, north Dublin, on February 5th, 2016.
Det Supt Scott added he informed Mr Hutch the DPP had directed his trial would be heard before the Special Criminal Court.
Brendan Grehan SC, for Mr Hutch, said his client was “reserving his position” in relation to the charge, the jurisdiction of the court and “the unlawfulness of his arrest”.
He also informed the court Mr Hutch was vaccinated against Covid-19 and has passed tests for the virus on Tuesday while still in Spain.
The charges he now faces arise from a feud-related attack targeting members of the Kinahan cartel at a boxing tournament weigh-in at the Regency Hotel, north Dublin, in February, 2016.
Daniel Kinahan, the man previously named in the High Court as the leader of the Kinahan cartel, was the target of the group of gunmen who burst into the hotel and opened fire.
However, he fled to safety on foot.
Kinahan associate David Byrne (34), from Crumlin, was shot dead and a number of other men were wounded but survived.
Mr Hutch was arrested in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol last month on foot of a European arrest warrant granted by the courts in Dublin earlier this year.
That warrant was issued after the DPP decided Mr Hutch should face charges relating to the Regency attack.
Mr Hutch, who is from Dublin’s north inner city but had lived with his family for many years in Clontarf, was traced to Fuengirola, where he was arrested just over one month ago.
He has been in custody in Madrid since his detention.
A ruling by the Spanish courts last week effectively rejected his efforts to block his extradition to the Republic, clearing the way for his return to Ireland.
He was extradited from Spain to Ireland on Wednesday, in an Irish military aircraft and under Garda escort.
Mr Hutch left a Madrid Airport at about 2.30pm on Wednesday and the aircraft landed at Casement Aerodrome in west Dublin at about 7pm.
Several Gardai arrested
A retired senior garda has been arrested on suspicion of passing information to a major drugs gang during an operation which saw the seizure of €600,000 worth of cannabis.
The man, aged in his early 60s, was the only suspect arrested during an operation by the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation on Wednesday which involved searches at five properties in Dublin.
Detectives uncovered 30kg of cannabis, worth an estimated €600,000, as well as €47,000 in cash during the operation.
The ex-garda was arrested on suspicion of “enhancing the ability of a criminal organisation to commit or facilitate a serious offence”.
This an offence under section 72 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2006. It is understood this took the form of allegedly passing on sensitive information to the gang about Garda operations.
The suspect is currently being held for questioning at Irishtown Garda Station in Dublin.
“On Wednesday 29th September, 2021, personnel attached to the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (GNBCI) participated in an organised crime related operation, in the course of which five (5) searches were conducted in Dublin,” the Garda said in a statement on Wednesday night.
“In the course of the operation thirty (30) kgs of cannabis herb with an estimated street value of €600,000 (subject to analysis) and cash in the amount of €47,000 was located and seized.”
One male suspect was arrested in the course of the operation to date “on suspicion of involvement in offences contrary to the provisions of section 72 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2006, relating to alleged enhancing the ability of a criminal organisation to commit or facilitate a serious offence.
“The arrested person is currently detained at Irishtown Garda Station, pursuant to the provisions of section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act 2007.”
A serving garda has been suspended from duty for allegedly leaking information to the media.
The sergeant, based at a north Dublin station, had his mobile phone confiscated by members of the new Garda Anti-Corruption Unit.
It’s understood other electronic devices linked to the officer were also seized.
A senior source said: “The sergeant has been informed of his suspension. He is no longer on duty.”
In a statement on Thursday evening, a garda spokesman said: “An Garda Síochána can confirm that a Garda (male) serving in the Dublin Region was suspended from duty on Tuesday, 29th September 2021.”
Meanwhile, in an unrelated internal investigation, elite detectives from the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) are probing the alleged activities of two officers in separate north Dublin stations.
The officers, who haven’t been suspended but whose status is “under review”, according to informed sources, are a middle-ranking garda and a detective.
Sources claimed the probe into the pair is a follow up to the arrest of a retired garda on Wednesday.
The NBCI arrested the retired senior officer during searches of five properties aimed at disrupting the activities of a serious organised crime group.
The NBCI raids across Dublin uncovered €600,000 worth of drugs and €47,000 in cash.
Gardai said at the time: “One male suspect, aged 61 years was arrested in the course of the operation, on suspicion of involvement in offences contrary to the provisions of section 72 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2006, relating to alleged enhancing the ability of a criminal organisation to commit or facilitate a serious offence.”
The raids were aimed at discovering how sensitive garda information allegedly ended up in the hands of a serious organised crime group in the north inner city.