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Detective Superintendent Colm Fox; The Regency Hotel and The Sunday World, February 7. 2016

Further to the collapse of the Regency Hotel murder trial yesterday.

The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) has opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of the case’s lead investigator Detective Superintendent Colm Fox.

Det Supt Fox was found dead by his own hand at Ballymun Garda station on February 10 last year following an adjournment in the trial after emails between four gardaí were disclosed.

The State’s case was that Patrick Hutch was the man dressed as a woman photographed leaving the hotel and that he was part of a “shared intention” to commit the murder of David Byrne.

Eoin writes:

The narrative about the collapse of the Hutch trial is changing.

Yesterday, it was because the lead Garda had died. What rubbish that such huge investigation would hinge on one Garda, when there was a team of what, 30 Gardai, and the lead Garda was reporting to more senior Gardai with progress and administative matters.

This morning, the narrative is shifting to the evidence. The main evidence was the photo in the Sunday World which we’ve all seen (it’s on the front page of the Indo).

Is the person in the photo Patrick Hutch? Many people say “yes”, Patrick Hutch denies it. But again, why not test that photo in open court before a jury?

Last year, it was “emails” among investigating Gardai that halted the trial. What was in the emails?

Do the emails show  an attempt at collusion by Gardai to agree to identify the man in the photo as the suspect, Patrick Hutch. Or, it was an attempt at collusion to introduce doubt about the identity?

Either way, we now deserve to see the emails.

A huge criminal investigation and trial has collapsed with the prime suspect walking free and the rest of us wondering why you couldn’t prove in court beyond a reasonable doubt that the photo is the suspect.

We’re paying a huge financial and social cost for the collapse and we deserve answers.

Also, the GSOC investigation is an abuse of process. It’s been initiated under s91 of the 2005 GS Act.

“If a complaint concerns the death of, or serious harm to, a person as a result of Garda operations or while in the custody or care of the Garda Síochána, the Ombudsman Commission shall immediately direct a designated officer to— (a) examine the complaint for the purpose of recommending whether the complaint should be investigated under section 95 or 98 , and (b) report his or her recommendation to the Commission as soon as practicable.”

This section is for supposed to be for deaths when someone dies in a Garda chase or in Garda custody, not a suicide by a Garda in his office. The GSOC investigation is nothing more than an attempt to cover up or delay exposing what was in the emails.

Yesterday: Dropped

Previously: A Right To Know

Getting The Shot

Rollingnews

Meanwhile…

This afternoon.

Earlier…

The Regency Hotel, Swords Road, Dublin 9

The trial had been stalled over the disclosure by the prosecution of emails between four gardaí. Following that adjournment Det Supt [Colm] Fox’s death took place.

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

The trial was further adjourned to allow time for a progress report to be outlined to the court.

This report concerned the analysis of electronic data – a mobile phone, two USB devices and a laptop computer – as part of an inquiry into the death of Det Supt Fox.

Regency Hotel murder trial of Patrick Hutch collapses a year after it began (Independent.ie)

Charges dropped against Regency Hotel murder accused Patrick Hutch (RTÉ)

Previously: A Right To Know

Rollingnews

The Regency Hotel, Swords Road, Whitehall, Dublin 9

Meanwhile…

When the judges returned, Mr Gillane [Sean Gillane SC, prosecuting] said that as he had indicated previously, a separate investigation was taking place “into the circumstances of Supt Fox’s passing and it was felt, having considered the matter very very carefully, that it would be safer to allow the investigation to be completed, from everyone’s perspective, before the trial would proceed.”

“In these circumstances I think it’s safer, subject to the court, to adjourn the trial, as a trial, for mention, to a date toward the end of term,” he said.

This seemed to be the “safest path forward to make sure no-one is taken by surprise,” he said.

Judge adjourns Regency trial after notes ‘authored by’ late investigating garda handed in (Independent.ie)

Hutch trial adjourned to allow for investigation into senior garda’s death (RTÉ)

Regency trial adjourned due to ‘unprecedented conundrums’ (Irish Times, last Monday)

Tributes paid to garda found dead in Ballymun station (Irish Times, Monday February 12)

Rollingnews

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From top: Regency Hotel shooters; Weapons seized during 2014/2015 from ‘dissident Republicans’ displayed at Garda HQ last month

‘Paul Michael Glazer’ writes:

Perhaps your excellent firearms contributor (Mark Dennehy) can help me? I was struck by the age and state of the machine guns used by the gunmen [dressed in Garda uniforms] during the Regency Hotel shooting. Why would wealthy gangsters use ancient, clapped out machine guns?

Then [Crime journalist] Paul Williams said Garda were investigating whether the weapons were “brought in from Libya for the Provisional IRA because it looks like one of the 1970s versions of the AK47. “

And then I recalled your post last month on the dissident Republican weapons put on display at Garda HQ featuring weapons as part of Garda “efforts to disrupt the activities of dissident republicans”.

As I say, I’m no expert but they look very similar and I am wondering if the gangsters stole the guns from Phoenix Park along with the uniforms?

Anyone?

Update:

Paul Michael Glazer adds:

Re: comments (below). I didn’t pose any theories it was a serious question. I am also genuinely interested in what the firearms guy has to say. Why not see if the guards are missing any weapons?

Previously: I Want My MP7

They Seemed Very Calm And Collected

Getting The Shot

Rollingnews

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From top: Regency Hotel in Drumcondra, Dublin, after last Friday’s shooting; Manager John Glynn

In a statement to the BBC this morning, a man alleging to speak on behalf of Continuity IRA said its members were responsible for the shooting in The Regency Hotel last Friday which left David Byrne dead and two men seriously injured.

The statement claimed Mr Byrne was shot because he had been involved in the killing of Alan Ryan in Dublin four years ago.

Further to this…

In a pre-recorded interview for RTÉ’s News At One, Áine Lawlor spoke with the managing director of The Regency Hotel, James McGettigan, who witnessed the shooting.

James McGettigan: “I was in the hotel bar with the general manager of the hotel, running through the business of the weekend. We had a very busy weekend, the hotel was full. We had a lot of Welsh rugby supporters over and we had Brendan Grace, who was playing for two nights so that was all booked out and the next thing is, there was commotion out in the reception area. There was sort of a panic. And within then maybe 15 seconds, three uniformed gardaí came in to the bar area and told everyone that this was the gardaí, to lie down on the floor and put your hands behind your heads.”

Áine Lawlor: “And you’d no reason to believe they weren’t gardaí at that stage?”

McGettigan: “Absolutely no. I mean these, they had the full Garda uniform. I mean they were very calm, very collected. I thought there was either an imminent robbery about to take place and the gardaí were about to thwart it or there was somebody in the bar that had done something somewhere else and the gardaí were about to, you know, arrest the person or something like that.”

Lawlor: “So they told people to lie down, they seemed very calm and collected. What happened then?”

McGettigan: “What happened then was there was a couple of shots fired. And then I saw a man just through a window in the bar basically getting assassinated. And that was just very, very shocking to watch. Because it happened so quickly and at this point, I really didn’t believe these guys were guards because the man beside me, who had a massive rifle – I don’t know what type it was – he basically, you know, he was basically looking at me and I was looking at him a little bit and, you know, I didn’t know if this was the real guards or not. But I started to believe that they weren’t and I started to panic. So then he disappeared and I went to the front door of the hotel to see if there was squad cars out there because I didn’t believe they were guards and this man is lying on the ground with blood pouring out of his head and I wanted to try and help him or save him or something. And when I went to the front door and opened it, I got a bit of a sinking feeling when I saw there was no cars out there at all, there was nothing.”

Lawlor: “So at this stage you know the real guards aren’t on your premises. You have these gunmen on your premises, presumably you want to contact the Garda Síochána?”

McGettigan: “Yes, that’s correct, yeah. And I ran down then, well ran, I walked down to the residents’ lounge of the hotel, I closed the door, I told this girl I met on the way who was an employee, I told her to immediately ring the guards and she said, the guards were already here. And I said, they’re not the guards. Went into the room and I slammed, closed the door and I locked it. There was a banging on the door afterwards, I don’t know who it was but I wasn’t going to open it to find out who it was and then I did try and contact the guards. Well when I rang 999, it was just a busy tone or it was a voice saying it was busy or something like that, I can’t remember exactly but I couldn’t get through. Now there may have been other people trying to ring at that point, I don’t know. But, look, you know, it was just very worrying not to get through you know? And, you know, I wanted to try and get these guys apprehended immediately. But I did eventually get through and…”

Lawlor: “How long did it take?”

McGettigan: “It took the third phone call so maybe, I don’t know, maybe 30/40 seconds?”

Lawlor: “So you got through and that stage. And what was the response from the garda when you finally got through?”

McGettigan: “Well the person I spoke to on the phone, I explained what happened, and he then said, ‘I’ll put you through to the Dublin division’. Then I could just hear the phone ringing and ringing and ringing out for, I don’t know, maybe 20/25 seconds. And twice he came on and said, ‘look they’ll answer, they will answer eventually,’ or ‘they’re about to answer’ or something like that. So, like 25 seconds seemed like an eternity for me now. I don’t know why that was.”

Lawlor: “Was all of this, I mean, you know, these aren’t huge delays but equally there’s a you know, there’s murder on your premises, there’s gunmen roaming around the place dressed as gardaí, did you have any sense in that time that you were able to get the help you needed from the security forces as quickly as you needed?”

McGettigan: “I don’t know what was happening. I just, there was a man outside, in the lobby, on the ground, with blood coming out of his head and all I wanted to do was try to help that person, that was all I was trying to do and I thought that we could probably try and maybe get these guys arrested. But I did then ring a detective I know on his mobile and he, he answered straight away and said he would get somebody out and I think, within, I stayed in that room then, I don’t know, within about two, two and a half minutes, the police had arrived.”

Lawlor: “And as you say, it’s a couple of days later and it was an horrific experience for everyone who was there and so many people in the country, even if they’re not Dubliners, they all know the Regency Hotel, it’s such a landmark, it’s so ordinary and what happened was so extraordinary.”

McGettigan: “Absolutely yes, you know, and the real worry was, I mean I didn’t know, I mean, how many people could have been, you know, certainly shot at – least of all myself for being pretty stupid. But, you know, I thought the person who was shot, I didn’t know who he was but he was just a guest in our premises so we were trying to just, you know, take care of him.”

Lawlor: “As one human being to another.”

McGettigan: “Correct.”

Listen back in full here

Previously: Getting The Shot

Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews

Update:

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From top: Saturday’s Irish Independent; Sunday World

You’ll recall the shooting at the Regency Hotel in Drumcondra, Dublin on Friday afternoon during the weigh-in for the WBO European Lightweight title fight between Jamie Kavanagh and Antonio Jao Bento.

David Byrne, 33, from Crumlin, south Dublin was killed in the shooting while another two men were seriously injured.

Following the shooting, photographs of the gunmen appeared in Independent News and Media titles over the weekend.

Special Correspondent at Irish Independent, Paul Williams, and Michael O’Toole, crime correspondent with the Irish Daily Star, spoke on Today with Seán O’Rourke this morning.

Mr Williams told the show that it was fortuitous that no undercover gardaí were present at the hotel because, if they had been present, a bloody shoot-out was likely to have occurred.

He also explained that gardaí had called to the offices of INM with a warrant to try and stop their photographs from being published.

From the interview…

Paul Williams: “To be very quick, to come along and look at your phone records Michael [O’Toole] and my phone records, GSOC and Garda headquarters, a certain small clique in Garda headquarters to find out if we’re talking to some Garda and I’m nearly sure that some smart alec in Garda headquarters will try and find out did some Garda tip any of our media colleagues off in relation to that weigh-in on Friday. That’s the bizarre situation, the bizarre world we’re living in at the moment.”

Sean O’Rourke: “Michael O’Toole, do you accept as well, or do you get the same sense that there is embarrassment at senior Garda levels at the fact that they didn’t, and maybe that people are alive today, who would not be had they been there, but that they feel in hindsight they should have been there?”

Michael O’Toole: “…There is definite embarrassment within the guards but I think it’s more amongst gardaí on the ground. They really are embarrassed. You know, we knew about it. Journalists knew about it. Gardaí should have been there. That’s what gardaí on the ground are saying.”

Regency shooting: Photograph the one loose thread they couldn’t have hoped for (Cormac O’Keeffe, Irish Examiner)

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This afternoon.

The Regency Hotel , Swords Road, Dublin 9

One man has been shot dead while two others were seriously injured in a shooting in Dublin.

The shooting took place at 2.30pm at the Regency Hotel on the Swords Road during a weigh-in for tomorrow’s WBO European Lightweight title fight between Jamie Kavanagh v Antonio Jao Bento.

It is believed the gunmen were dressed in Garda uniforms and used semi-automatic weapons.

Detectives are trying to establish a motive for the murder but one line of inquiry is that it could be connected to the murder of Gary Hutch, who was shot dead in Spain last September.

Man dies after shooting at Dublin hotel, two others injured (RTÉ)

Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews