Boxing weigh-in murder suspect ‘at risk’ court hears

The Regency Hotel where the shooting took place
The Regency Hotel where the shooting took place

A Co Tyrone man suspected of involvement in a fatal shooting at a boxing weigh-in in Dublin earlier this year could be at risk from “criminal elements” if extradited, a Belfast court has heard.

Kevin Murray, 46, from Townsend Street in Strabane, is being sought by authorities in the Republic in connection with the murder of 33-year-old David Byrne on February 5.

Mr Desmond Fahy, counsel acting for Mr Murray, told Her Honour Judge Smyth that, as well as a threat to his client’s safety, Mr Murray was awaiting the results of an MRI scan.

Mr Murray appeared in court in a wheelchair. He was not required to speak during the hearing and listened attentively as his barrister told the judge he “had experienced difficulties in his personal care” while in prison.

Judge Smyth ordered that a consultant neurologist examine the MRI scan and report the findings to the court within four weeks.

“The fact that he is in prison is not a bar to him receiving appropriate treatment,” she said.

Mr Fahy also raised concerns over the strength of the evidence linking his client to the murder at the Regency Hotel.

He said there was “no forensic and no other identification” apart from some CCTV images.

Mr Murray was arrested at his Strabane home on September 5 under a European Arrest Warrant issued by authorities in Dublin.

At the initial hearing following Mr Murray’s detention, the court heard: “The requested person stayed overnight at the Regency Hotel on 4 February 2016. The warrant alleges that this was in preparation for his role in the murder the following day.”

In court on Thursday representing the Irish judicial authorities, barrister Stephen Ritchie said it was up to Mr Murray’s representatives to prove that the state authorities in the Republic could not “take reasonable steps to protect his rights”.

However, Mr Ritchie added: “Assurances are being sought”.

Byrne, a 34-year-old father-of-two, was shot dead when masked men dressed as Garda officers opened fire with automatic weapons. His killing ignited a deadly feud between members of the rival Kinahan and Hutch gangs. Murray is being sought in connection with alleged offences of murder and possession of a firearm with intent.