JAMES Quinn could be cleared of the charge of murder after the prosecution stated that he could have been the getaway driver instead, heard a Malaga court today.
However, if 35-year-old Quinn is convicted of acting as a ‘necessary participant’ to the crime rather than the perpetrator, he could still be sentenced to life imprisonment in Spain.
Prosecution threw the court into shock after announcing it had made a ‘small alteration’ to the indictment against Dubliner Quinn, who is accused of shooting 34-year-old Gary Hutch 15 times in the chest and head on September 24 2015, by offering the alternative theory.
The jury will now decide if Quinn was responsible for the murder, or whether he was the driver of the getaway car which waited for two hours before the perpetrator launched a ‘surprise’ attack on Hutch at the Angel de Miraflores residential state in Mijas.
The alternative indictment reads: “The accused James Quinn, acting with another person whose identity has not been confirmed, received an order from an unknown person to carry out a preconceived plan to end the life of Gary Patrick Hutch.
“While the accused James Quinn stayed inside the vehicle on the look-out and to ensure the subsequent getaway, his companion gained access to the inside of the residential estate wearing a balaclava to avoid being recognised, while carrying two firearms.”
On hearing the news, defendant Quinn smiled before he was led out of the door by Civil Guard officers.
Prosecuting, Jose Barba, revealed outside of court that he had been awake ‘until 3am’ the night before considering whether he should offer an alternative theory.
“I still maintain that he did it. That he was the one that shot [Hutch] while the other person waited, but the jury can always have doubts and could say well why couldn’t James Quinn be the driver?
“Quinn was in that car, there’s no doubt about it – because of the baseball cap,” said the lawyer.
It comes after the defence raised questions over key pieces of evidence, with numerous police officials and investigating experts testifying today.
The first indictment against Quinn stated the attacker can be seen in CCTV footage wearing a baseball cap, which he changes into a balaclava before gunning down Hutch.
The cap, which has become a ‘main player’ in the trial, later tested positive with Quinn’s DNA after it was recovered from the getaway BMW car which was set on fire some hours after the attack.
When the court was shown the moment on the CCTV footage today, defending lawyer, Pedro Apalategui, insisted he could not see the baseball cap.
Testifying via video conference, two infographic specialists who analysed the footage, estimated that the attacker stood at approximately 182cm – but insisted due to the poor quality of the video, he could be 3cm taller or shorter each way.
Defending, Apalategui, stated that Quinn measures exactly 185cm barefoot and questioned whether the attacker in the footage could have been his defendant, as the attacker was wearing trainers which could alter his height and in theory would be shorter if he were to take them off.
He added: “You use a technology that works in a scene of two dimensions, not three… is it possible to take precise measurements?”
The expert retorted: “I measure it by only what I see in the image. The images aren’t good, which is why we have given space for errors.”
It was later confirmed by a sound and image expert that the video technology used in the CCTV cameras is 20 years old, who added that the quality of the images were low.
Further evidence was revealed by two forensics scientists who analysed Hutch’s corpse.
They said: “He [Hutch] suffered four bullet shots which caused eight wounds.”
They added that four were entrance wounds and four were exit wounds. The two received in the head were shot at a close range, with the first being a 40 – 50cm distance away and the other around 1m.
Jurors were also shown the CCTV footage of the attack, in which the first clip showed a grey BMW reversing into a parking space before the attacker, dressed in dark clothing, jumps out and runs towards the residential estate.
The attacker, with a gun in his hand chases Hutch, dressed in a mustard top and grey shorts, past the entrance to a garage door heading towards the pool area.
Hutch sprints round the perimeters of the pool with the attacker closely behind. As he runs a second lap around the corner, with the attacker out of shot, he suddenly falls to the floor as he is shot from behind.
The gunman runs round the front of the estate and jumps over a small wall next to the gate into the car park. He trips over momentarily on the other side, but quickly gets up and jumps in the BMW car waiting, before they take off.
The trial continues tomorrow.