blameless | 

Graham Dwyer has murder conviction appeal dismissed in Court of Appeal

It also found that there was other evidence against Dwyer, outside of that involving phone metadata, which was as powerful and arguably more compelling”.

Convicted killer Graham Dwyer


The Court of Appeal has dismissed Graham Dwyer’s appeal against his conviction for the murder of childcare worker Elaine O’Hara.

The court found gardaí were blameless in how they conducted the investigation, despite subsequent European rulings striking down the law under which Dwyer’s phone data was seized.

They acted under a relevant act of the Oireachtas in seizing the data, a law that enjoyed the presumption of constitutionality at the time.

It also found that there was other evidence against Dwyer, outside of that involving phone metadata, which was as powerful and arguably more compelling”.

The 50-year-old Foxrock architect was in court for the ruling delivered by the president of the court, Mr Justice George Birmingham, sitting with Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy. The third judge who heard the appeal, Mr Justice John Edwards, was unable to be present.

Dressed in a navy Canterbury top, Dwyer leaned forward in his seat and appeared restless as he listened to the ruling. He showed no emotion when the outcome became clear.

Dwyer had several grounds of appeal, the most significant of which related to the inclusion of phone metadata evidence in his trial in 2015.

After his imprisonment he has successfully challenged to the law under which his phone metadata was seized, securing rulings in his favour from the High Court, Supreme Court and Court of Justice for the European Union (CJEU).

During his conviction appeal in December, his legal team sought a retrial because of the way the trial judge in his case, Mr Justice Tony Hunt, decided to allow the metadata evidence to be put before the jury.

The metadata was important as it helped establish a link between Dwyer and his victim, with whom he had been having a secret sadomasochistic relationship. Lawyers for the DPP said he murdered her for his sexual gratification.

The evidence was included in Dwyer’s trial despite opposition from his lawyers.

The Court of Appeal heard Dwyer was not arguing for the exclusion of the evidence altogether but believed it should have been the subject to an admissibility test, arising from a Supreme Court case called JC. In JC, the Supreme Court ruled evidence obtained unconstitutionally can be admissible, but only if the prosecution can show the breach was inadvertent.

Dwyer’s lawyers argued that because such a test was not applied at his trial, he was entitled to a retrial.

But the Court of Appeal ruled that applying the JC test in Dwyer’s trial would have resulted in only one outcome, the admission of the evidence.

It also rejected the other grounds of appeal put forward by Dwyer.

Dwyer had claimed there was a failure by gardaí to provide sufficient information to his solicitor while he was in custody.

However, the court ruled that gardaí had impressed upon Dwyer the seriousness of the situation and that a solicitor was provided to him.

It said the trial judge could not be criticised for admitting the evidence.

Also rejected was a claim by Dwyer that the playing of videos of him having sex with Elaine O’Hara and other women, during which Dwyer could be seen stabbing or pretending to stab the women, prejudiced his right to a fair trial.

Mr Justice Birmingham said the probative value of videos weighed more than the potential prejudice and that the court could not disagree with the trial judge’s decision to admit it.

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