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Irish Examiner - - Front Page - Daniel Hickey

He’s faced down the Bri­tish army, kid­nap­ping gangs, and Sith Lords, but one thing still fright­ens Liam Nee­son — pub­lic speak­ing.

A man at­tend­ing a boxing weigh-in at the Re­gency Ho­tel in Dublin was “re­lieved” when peo­ple he thought were gar­daí ar­rived af­ter a shoot­ing — be­fore one of them took aim with a gun and shot a per­son, the Spe­cial Crim­i­nal Court heard.

Pa­trick Hutch, aged 25, of Champions Av­enue, Dublin 1, is plead­ing not guilty to the mur­der of David Byrne, aged 34, at the Re­gency Ho­tel in Dublin on Fe­bru­ary 5, 2016.

Mel Christie, for­mer pres­i­dent of the Boxing Union of Ire­land, told Sean Gil­lane, pros­e­cut­ing, a boxing event had been or­gan­ised for Satur­day, Fe­bru­ary 6, at the Na­tional Boxing Sta­dium.

Mr Christie and for­mer Eu­rosport boxing com­men­ta­tor Rinze Van Der Meer went to the weigh-in at the Re­gency Ho­tel at 1.45pm, and Mr Christie, who was to su­per­vise the weigh-in, had brought a weigh­ing-scales.

Gary Sweeney was the last fighter to be weighed in.

Mr Sweeney had just stepped down from the scales when there was a “crack­ing noise”. “I was aware the crack­ing noise were gun­shots,” Mr Christie said

He then be­came aware of two peo­ple run­ning to his left. “Es­sen­tially one was a stocky mid­dle-aged man with a cap and he was try­ing to keep up, slightly be­hind a younger per­son, who was ob­vi­ously male but dressed as a fe­male.” Both men were car­ry­ing pis­tols.

The two men went past the stage and down a cor­ri­dor.

Af­ter that, there were at least eight “far louder gun­shots” which came from what he sub­se­quently re­alised was the re­cep­tion area.

Mr Christie agreed with Michael O’Hig­gins, de­fend­ing, that he was in a po­si­tion to give a “good ver­bal de­scrip­tion” of the per­son.

Wit­ness Paul Spencer said he was a mem­ber of a boxing gym at the time. He saw the guys from his gym and other box­ers, as well as guys as­so­ci­ated with the MGM gym, in­clud­ing Daniel Ki­na­han.

He no­ticed two peo­ple com­ing in, a man and a wo­man, who “seemed out of place”. The wo­man had a blonde wig and was link­ing with the other man, who was wear­ing a cap. Mr Spencer said as they were pass­ing, he re­alised the blonde was a man dressed up as a wo­man.

He said that the men pointed hand­guns, higher than head-height, over the crowd, and he heard three or four gun­shots. He was “ter­ri­fied” and took cover.

Mr Spencer saw the man dressed as a wo­man run­ning out an emer­gency door.

He heard three more gun­shots out­side the room. Mr Spencer said that a man walked in and said, “It’s okay, the ERU are here”.

The court heard that two men wear­ing dark hel­mets and blue po­lice jack­ets, with scarves over their noses, were car­ry­ing “huge guns”.

The court heard the “two fel­las walked calmly into the cen­tre of the room” and peo­ple started walk­ing to­ward them. They took three or four steps, the wit­ness said, when there were three or four more gun­shots which came from one of the men who he had thought was a garda.

He said that he saw one of them “aim the gun and shoot a per­son”. Mr Spencer said his “ears were ring­ing” and “it was bed­lam”.

He saw the man dressed as a wo­man and the man in the cap run­ning back in the door with their “guns held high”.

He said that he heard the man dressed as a wo­man shout­ing, in a Dublin ac­cent, “I can’t see him, I can’t see him, he’s not fuck­ing here”.

He went to re­cep­tion, the court heard, looked down and saw a body.

The trial re­sumes on Mon­day.

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