court warning | 

Judge threatens to remove killer Graham Dwyer from courtroom after repeated interruptions

Dwyer (50) stopped interrupting after the warning, instead opting to pass notes to his solicitor.

Shane PhelanIndependent.ie

A judge has threatened to remove Graham Dwyer from his courtroom after the killer repeatedly interrupted a lawyer for the DPP during his appeal hearing.

The president of the Court of Appeal, Mr Justice George Birmingham, issued the warning after the Foxrock architect interjected on three occasions, taking issue with what was being said by counsel for the DPP, Sean Guerin SC.

“We have already had one interruption. If there is another he will be removed to the cells,” the judge said.

Dwyer (50) stopped interrupting after the warning, instead opting to pass notes to his solicitor.

The court is today sitting for the second and final day of Dwyer’s appeal against his 2015 conviction for the murder of childcare worker Elaine O’Hara (36).

She had been in a secret and abusive sadomasochistic relationship with Dwyer prior to disappearing in August 2012. Her remains were found 13 months later in a forest in the Dublin Mountains.

Yesterday, Dwyer’s lawyers outlined various grounds of appeal. Today it was the turn of lawyers for the DPP to respond.

A key plank of Dwyer’s appeal is that the Irish law used to obtain his mobile phone metadata, which helped detectives to establish a link between him and his victim, was in breach of EU law.

Another ground of appeal is that the prosecution did not establish any cause of death or that Dwyer had caused Ms O’Hara to die. Dwyer’s lawyers have held out the possibility that Ms O’Hara, who was receiving psychiatric care, could have committed suicide.

Graham Dwyer

Mr Guerin told the three-judge court that a text retrieved by gardaí from a “burner phone” attributed to Dwyer said: “I want to stick my knife in flesh while sexually aroused... blood turns me on and I'd like to stab a girl to death."

He said the prosecution case was Dwyer “meant what he said and did what he said he was going to do”.

Dwyer interjected at this point, saying: “I didn’t say any of that.”

He denies that he owned or operated the phone, which was found by gardaí in Vartry Reservoir in Co Wicklow along with another handset just days after Ms O’Hara’s remains were discovered.

Mr Guerin said Dwyer was “significantly overstating” the use of the call data by gardaí.

He said that at the same time as call data was being analysed, an “an old-fashioned detective job being done at Blackrock Garda Station” reading texts retrieved from a phone attributed to Ms O’Hara looking for any information that might identify a suspect.

He said it was it was part of the prosecution case that the relationship between Dwyer and Ms O’Hara existed for years.

He had used his registered work phone to communicate with her and this was established from paper printed bills in his employers’ keeping.

Mr Guerin also said the majority of texts obtained by gardaí were retrieved from Ms O’Hara’s phone or from a laptop she had used to back up her phone.

The barrister said the prosecution had sought to show the content of those messages, the desires shown in them, were real and long-standing.

He also said it sought to show that Ms O’Hara’s death could only be explained by the realisation of Dwyer’s intention to “stab a girl to death”.

Mr Guerin said the prosecution had also sought to eliminate any other possible explanation, such as suicide.

“The text messages show he said he was going to take her to the woods, tie her up and stab her,” he said.

“And she said she was not going to commit suicide.

“The prosecution’s case is confirmed by the exchange of texts. The defence case is contradicted.

“If she did commit suicide, how on earth did her keys and her phone get to the lake.”

Mr Guerin said that in March 2011, a burner phone, known as the “green phone” or the “master phone” became the primary handset he used to communicate with Ms O’Hara.

He said this was registered in a false name, Goroon Caisholm, which was a corruption of the name of a former work colleague of Dwyer.

At this point Dwyer interjected for a second time, saying: “He was never a former colleague of mine.”

“An acquaintance in any event,” Mr Guerin said.

The barrister went on to say that the false address given was a corruption of Dwyer’s sister’s address.

Mr Guerin said that remarkably, it had been possible to download messages from the burner phones, notwithstanding they had been in the reservoir for over a year.

He went on to say that one text message said to have been sent by Dwyer to Ms O’Hara read: “If anyone asks about me tell them I'm your brother David”

Dwyer interjected for a third time, saying: “I never wrote anything like that.”

At this point, the warning was issued by Mr Justice Birmingham.

Mr Dwyer’s solicitor went to speak to him and the interruptions stopped.

The appeal continues.


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