A man pleaded not guilty to murder at a boxing weigh-in at a Dublin hotel in 2016.

Gerry Hutch, 59, is charged with the murder of David Byrne, 34, at the Regency Hotel on February 5, 2016.

The murder made international headlines after five gunmen, three of them dressed as armed police, stormed a boxing weigh-in at the hotel, armed with assault rifles.

The court heard Mr Byrne’s murder was carried out by a well-resourced organization as part of the feud between the Hutch and Kinahan organized crime groups, which to date has seen 18 people murdered.

Dressed in a navy blazer and light blue shirt, and listening through headphones, Hutch sat with two other defendants as the special non-jury criminal court heard the attack on the hotel was “performative” and “focused”.

The prosecution painted a scene of panic and confusion as two separate teams of armed looters opened fire.

The court heard how a silver Ford Transit van arrived at the Regency Hotel and turned away two men, one wearing a flat cap and another man wearing a wig, dressed as a woman.

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The duo walked “sometimes arm in arm” through the hotel towards the “Clash of the Clans” boxing weigh-in, before opening fire with handguns.

The two assailants chased the people who tried to escape them.

Jail van brings Gerry Hutch to court

Meanwhile, three other assailants, dressed in armed police tactical gear and carrying AK-47 type assault rifles, entered the hotel through the main entrance and opened fire.

There was “more panic” as participants tried to escape in opposite directions from the two groups of gunmen.

Solicitor for the prosecutor Sean Gillane explained how Mr Byrne was shot in the reception area by one of the fake police officers – described as ‘Tactical One’, before he was also shot by ‘Tactical Two’.

Tactical Two then jumped onto the reception desk and pointed their gun at another man hiding on the other side, but did not open fire.

Tactical Two then jumped up and “calmly and coolly fired more bullets into the head and body” of Mr Byrne.

An autopsy revealed the cause of death to be six high-velocity gunshot wounds to the head, face, abdomen and thighs.

One eyewitness, boxing official Mel Christle, described seeing Mr Byrne’s body slumped “almost at rest” against the base of the reception desk.

“It was a body, it was a corpse,” he said. “His face had been blown away.”

The court heard that the attack was highly targeted. The wig-wearing shooter was heard yelling “I don’t know where he is” and “I couldn’t f****** find him”.

In the days following the widely publicized shooting, the prosecution say Hutch met his associate Jonathan Dowdall – a former Sinn Fein adviser – after a photo of two of the gunmen appeared in the Sunday World newspaper.

Hutch was described as being “particularly flustered and pissed off” as he discussed the photo.

The court heard Hutch tell Dowdall that he was part of the “team” that shot David Byrne.

Hutch was under the surveillance of the Garda (Irish police)

Hutch asked Dowdall to arrange a meeting with Northern Ireland Republicans as the row with the Kinahans escalated, the court heard.

The car they traveled in was under Garda [Irish police] monitoring and their conversations were recorded.

The pair discussed a possible peace deal with the Kinahan, the prosecution said, but Hutch said “it’s very difficult to get involved when it comes to the Kinahan, the messenger understands.”

Hutch has been in custody for over a year, following his arrest on the Costa del Sol in August 2021 and extradition to Ireland.

His murder trial was delayed after the court heard that co-defendant Jonathan Dowdall had decided to testify and was currently being assessed under Ireland’s witness security scheme.

On Monday, Dowdall was sentenced to four years in prison on a lesser charge of facilitating the murder. Her father Patrick was imprisoned for two years.

Two other men, Paul Murphy, 59, and Jason Bonney, 50, are also charged with aiding in the commission of the murder by providing vehicles.

The trial of the three men is expected to last at least 12 weeks.

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