NewsCrime Desk

Vicious child abducting rapist dismisses legal team and utters insults at judges

Michael Murray
Michael Murray

A man jailed for 15 years for the rape and sexual assault of a woman whose child he abducted in the same incident, must wait to hear the outcome of his appeal against conviction.

Michael Murray (46), formerly of Killiney Oaks, Killiney, Dublin, was jailed for 15 years for rape, attempted rape, oral rape and aggravated sexual assault, child abduction, threats to kill or cause serious harm, false imprisonment and theft at a Dublin apartment on February 12th and 13th, 2010.

The Central Criminal Court had heard that Murray lured his female victim into an apartment by telling her that an elderly woman was dying inside and needed her help.

He tied her up and assaulted her before taking her son away abandoning him in a city centre square late at night. He returned to the flat where he drugged and raped his victim.

Murray had denied the charges. However he was found guilty on all counts by a unanimous jury decision.

Murray moved to appeal his conviction today/yesterday(WEDNESDAY) initially through his legal team led by Vincent Heneghan SC. However, after submissions had been opened, the Court of Appeal was told that Murray had “lost confidence in his legal team” and the remaining submissions were then advanced by Murray himself in person.

The court heard that Murray, after his arrest, had been deemed unfit to be interviewed by gardaí due to intoxication. Mr Heneghan submitted that the doctor who deemed Murray unfit to be interviewed, should have had another consultation with him before he was interviewed and that Murray should have been given notice of his rights a second time by gardaí.

Mr Heneghan further submitted that information gleaned from the initial interview - before he was deemed unfit - was used in subsequent interviews but Murray was unaware the the state could not rely on the initial information in court. “In for a penny, in for a pound,” Mr Heneghan said.

Furthermore, Mr Heneghan submitted that clips of interviews to show Murray's character should not have been presented to the jury.

Murray advanced a number of issues himself relating to the complainant, disclosure and changes to the indictment he alleged were made “to fit the evidence”.

Mr Justice George Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Alan Mahon and Mr Justice John Edwards, said the court would reserve judgment.

The Director of Public Prosecutions have also lodged proceedings seeking a review of Murray's 15 year sentence on grounds that it was “unduly lenient”. Depending on the outcome of Murray's conviction appeal, this appeal is due to be heard at a later date.

Murray had previously taken a High Court case against the Irish Prison Service and Minister for Justice in which he had sought injunctions restraining prison authorities from intercepting his calls, certain declarations and damages.

Dismissing his case in July 2015, Mr Justice Séamus Noonan said it was beyond dispute that the recording of Murray’s telephone calls was “inappropriate and ought not to have occurred”.

There was however, “undisputed evidence” that the calls weren’t accessed. Similarly, evidence was unchallenged that the recordings were made inadvertently, the judge said.

Inmates in Irish prisons fill out a form entitled “Application for Phone Calls” which permits them to list up to 12 contact numbers, the contact's name and their relationship to the prisoner, the High Court found.

The form states that the “the first number must be your solicitor” and “all calls except those to the Samaritans and your solicitor will be monitored and recorded”.

Murray had drawn particular attention to two phone calls to his solicitor on July 23 2013, on the evening before day 21 of his trial, during which he discussed privileged matters in relation to his defence.

Both calls were made from lines other than the designated solicitor line, number one.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Noonan said Murray had not put any evidence before the court to demonstrate the slightest prejudice arising from what appears to have been a “technical infringement at best of his rights”.

Once the prison authorities became alive to the inadvertent recording, Mr Justice Noonan said, steps were immediately taken to rectify the position.

Mr Justice Noonan said there was no ongoing or threatened infringement of Murray’s rights in this matter.

No declaration was required to vindicate his rights and no issue of damages could arise.

Accordingly, he dismissed Murray’s application and awarded costs against him.

An appeal against the High Court's decision was subsequently dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

Costs were awarded against Murray who uttered insults at the Court of Appeal judges as he was lead away.