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Data from tracker on Dowdall’s vehicle found, court hears

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The Special Criminal Court has been told that gardaí have found data from a tracking device which had been placed on a former Sinn Féin councillor’s jeep, which they said last week had been destroyed.

The data had been sought by Gerard Hutch’s defense counsel, but a senior officer told the court that it had been destroyed before this trial began.

Ciaran Hoey, the former head of the Garda National Surveillance Unit, testified that he signed an order in February this year authorizing the destruction of the data, because it was six-and-a-half years old and the law required him to destroy it after three years.

Senior counsel Sean Gillane told the three judges today that an extensive operation, which included the Cyber ​​Crime Unit, was being conducted by An Garda Síochána to see if the data could be retrieved.

In the course of that operation, he said, desktops that had been listed for destruction were discovered and examined and “a working” copy of the material requested was located.

He said both he and defense counsel needed time to examine the material and the case has now been adjourned until this afternoon.

“If it appears what is lost is now found, I will need a bit of time to see where we go now,” Defense Counsel Brendan Grehan told the court.

The data relates to a tracker, which was placed on Jonathan Dowdall’s land cruiser.

The court has already heard that he met with a member of the Real IRA in Derry a month before the murder and then is alleged to have driven Gerard Hutch to Derry two weeks later.

Gardaí also placed listening devices on the former Sinn Féin councillor’s land cruiser to listen to their conversations.

An Assistant Commissioner in Crime and Security who had the final sign-off on the destruction order was also due to give evidence today but that has also been postponed

59-year-old Gerard Hutch, who is known as The Monk, with an address The Paddocks, Clontarf, Dublin 3, denies the murder of Kinahan Cartel member David Byrne during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel on 5 February, 2016 .

Mr Hutch’s two co-accused, 59-year-old Paul Murphy of Cherry Avenue, Swords in Co Dublin and 50-year-old Jason Bonney of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock have pleaded not guilty to participating in or contributing to the murder of David Byrne by providing access to motor vehicles on February 5, 2016.

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