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Wife killer Joe O'Reilly granted legal aid for appeal

CourtsBy Sunday World
Joe O'Reilly
Joe O'Reilly

Joe O'Reilly has been granted legal aid to pursue a Supreme Court appeal one year after his miscarriage of justice bid was dismissed as an “abuse of process”.

In July 2007, O’Reilly was found guilty by a Central Criminal Court jury and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his wife at their home in the Naul, Co. Dublin on October 4, 2004.

Rachel O'Reilly's badly beaten body was found in the bedroom of her home by her mother and before he was charged, Joe had appeared as a guest on the topic of her death on The Late Show.

O'Reilly had lost an appeal against his conviction and last year an application to have his conviction declared a miscarriage of justice was dismissed as an “abuse of process” by the Court of Appeal.

Counsel for O'Reilly, Ronan Munro BL, sought a legal aid certificate in the Court of Appeal today for O'Reilly to pursue an application to the Supreme Court under its new jurisdiction.

O'Reilly is seeking leave to appeal the Court of Appeal's decision to dismiss his miscarriage of justice bid as an “abuse of process”.

In light of developments in a separate case, Mr Justice Birmingham said the Supreme Court seemed to take the view that applications for legal aid should be made to the Court of Appeal.

Mr Munro told the judge that O'Reilly was serving a life sentence. As such, the judge said, the issue of his means was unlikely.

If the Supreme Court was satisfied that legal aid applications should be dealt with in the Court of Appeal "that's good enough for me", Mr Justice Birmingham said who had indicated earlier that three judges would be required to deal with the matter.

O'Reilly was not in court for the procedural matter.

By Ruaidhrí Giblin