A meeting at which Jonathan Dowdall claims Gerard Hutch told him he murdered a Kinahan gangster at the Regency Hotel seven years ago could have taken place, the Special Criminal Court heard this afternoon.
The former Sinn Féin councillor testified that Mr Hutch told him he had shot David Byrne on 5 February 2016 when he met him in a north Dublin park a few days later.
Dowdall said he was not sure of the date, but insisted it was after the publication in the Sunday World newspaper of a photograph of two of the gunmen.
A garda analyst who analysed phone and call data records told the court today that "it was possible the meeting took place" on Sunday 7 February, the day the photograph was published.
Sarah Skedd told the three judges that records for Dowdall’s phone show a connection to a cell in Collins Avenue in Whitehall in Dublin at 3.16pm on Sunday 7 February 2016.
She said the cell was "orientated to potentially give coverage to the park" where Dowdall said he met Mr Hutch and where he claims Mr Hutch admitted the murder to him.
However, she agreed with defence counsel Brendan Grehan that Dowdall appears to be moving continuously at 3:16pm, the time the phone connection was made and that there does not appear to be time for him to be in any park because ten minutes later he was in Castleknock.
She pointed out that there was a gap in coverage of Dowdall's phone between 12.34pm and 3.16pm that day, which could have been because it was out of coverage, out of credit, on airplane mode or switched off.
"There can be a lot of variabilities affecting why phone masts might not pick up a phone," she said.
"It could be busy or the weather, rain," she added.
Ms Skedd also said that the data "seems to be consistent with Dowdall's account" of a meeting with Mr Hutch at Richmond Road on the eve of the murder to hand over a key to a room at the Regency used by one of the gunmen.
Ms Skedd also said it was unclear how Mr Hutch contacted Dowdall to arrange the alleged meeting, but it was "possible" contact was through the internet.
The room at the Regency was subsequently used by one of the gunmen, the deceased dissident republican Kevin 'flat cap' Murray.
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Ms Skedd told the court today that phone records, CCTV and cell site data "seems to be consistent with Dowdall's account".
Mr Hutch's brother Eddie Hutch was shot dead the next day, Monday 8 February.
Dowdall also testified he was contacted by Patsy Hutch's wife after the murder asking about her husband Patsy because she was worried about him.
Ms Skedd told the court today that following cell site and other data analysis, "Dowdall was correct about the call from Patsy’s wife".
She also said there seemed to have been no clear opportunity for Dowdall to travel to Whitehall and for the meeting to take place on Monday 8 February.
The analyst also gave evidence as to the movements of six vehicles, including the Ford Transit van used by the hit team on the day of the murder, Jason Bonney’s BMW and Paul Murphy’s Toyota Avensis taxi.
She agreed with Mr Bonney’s defence counsel John Fitzgerald that while the data she compiled tracks the vehicle, she can not say that Mr Bonney was driving the car.
Mr Fitzgerald said that Mr Bonney’s case is that the driver changed that day and that it was his father who was driving the vehicle south of Newbrook Avenue.
Gerard Hutch, 59, of the Paddocks, Clontarf in Dublin has pleaded not guilty to the murder.
Mr Murphy and Mr Bonney have pleaded not guilty to helping a criminal gang commit the murder of Mr Byrne on 5 February 2016 by providing access to motor vehicles.