Hutch bugging device crossing border 'does not matter a damn' if placed lawfully, prosecution says

Published date28 November 2022
Publication titleIrish Times: Web Edition Articles (Dublin, Ireland)
Prosecution counsel agreed with the presiding judge it was the State's case that once a surveillance device is placed and retrieved lawfully on a car within this jurisdiction, "then it does not matter a damn where the vehicle was in the meantime"

Sean Gillane SC, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, submitted that an audio surveillance device is "simply an inanimate movable item" which had been "applied, sought, deployed, initiated and retrieved within the State" and that the data was recovered within the State. He added: "No question of extraterritoriality in truth arises''.

He said: "Can I ask the court whether it is to be imputed to the Oireachtas that they are blind, deaf and oblivious to the existence of the border between here and Northern Ireland and in the context of the Criminal Justice Surveillance Act 2009, which has as one of its core functions the investigation of terrorist offences on one of the most porous borders in western Europe?"

Mr Gillane submitted that the defence's contention was that as soon as one reaches the border of the Carrickdale Hotel that "all bets are off and the bug doesn't work". The trial has heard that the vehicle crossed the Border at the Carrickdale Hotel in Dundalk Co Louth at 3.12pm on March 7th, crossing back into the Republic at 10.50pm that night at Aughnacloy in Co Monaghan.

Last Friday, defence barrister Brendan Grehan SC, for Mr Hutch, told the non-jury court that "on its face" there had been an illegal operation of the Criminal Justice Surveillance Act 2009 and that the prosecution was seeking to "wheel the evidence in" which "extended beyond the territorial boundaries" and say "none of that matters".

Mr Grehan also submitted that the permission to deploy a bugging device that recorded conversations between his client and Dowdall were sought under "a culture of secrecy" and with "an unintentional lack of candour". He stated that a surveillance device being deployed on a vehicle gathering intelligence while operating outside of the jurisdiction was in "contravention" of the terms of the Act.

Mr Gillane completed his submissions on Monday to the three-judge court on why the secret audio recording, which the State says is "part of the core" of its case, is admissible.

Mr Grehan will respond in full on Tuesday to Mr Gillane's submissions before the three judges rule on the admissibility of the contents of the recorded conversations.

Mr Hutch (59), last of The Paddocks, Clontarf, Dublin 3, denies the murder...

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