Long way to go | 

Killer Graham Dwyer tells prison staff he isn't 'getting hopes up' about appeal win

'He’s keeping his feet on the ground and has been very quiet. He isn’t celebrating in any way'

Murderer Graham Dwyer. Photo: Sunday World

Ali Bracken

Murderer Graham Dwyer has told prison staff in the Midlands Prison he “isn’t getting his hopes up” about his conviction being overturned following a landmark European Court ruling.

On Tuesday, the Court of Justice for the European Union (CJEU) ruled in favour of the former architect in his challenge against Ireland’s data retention laws.

Phone metadata played a key role in securing Dwyer’s 2015 conviction for the murder of vulnerable childcare worker Elaine O’Hara in 2012.

However, various legal experts have pointed to a raft of other evidence that ensured the 49-year-old was convicted of Ms O’Hara’s murder.

Prison sources now explain the father-of-three is also not “in any way over-confident” about the significance of the European ruling.

“He is not getting his hopes up. He’s told prison officers he knows there is still a long way to go. He has said while this ruling was expected to go in his favour, it’s still just ‘another step in the process’.

"He’s keeping his feet on the ground and has been very quiet. He isn’t celebrating in any way,” a prison source said.

The Luxembourg court said EU law precludes the general and indiscriminate retention of traffic and location data relating to electronic communications for the purposes of combating serious crime.

Ireland’s Supreme Court had intended on making a similar finding, upholding a 2018 High Court ruling in Dwyer’s favour.

The Supreme Court signalled it wanted to limit its ruling so that the finding would not have retrospective effect — which would have potentially stopped Dwyer from using the finding as a ground of appeal.

But the CJEU said the Supreme Court could not impose “a temporal limitation on the effects of a declaration of invalidity of a national law that provides for such retention”.

This means Dwyer will be able to use the High Court and Supreme Court rulings as a ground of appeal against his conviction for the murder.

Victim Elaine O'Hara.

Although the CJEU decision bolsters his appeal, it does not in any way indicate his conviction will be overturned.

If the Court of Appeal finds the metadata evidence should have been excluded from his trial, it will have to weigh up whether there was sufficient other evidence to prove the case against Dwyer.

Other evidence heard at the nine-week murder trial included that a DNA profile in the form of a semen stain matched Dwyer’s and was recovered from a mattress in Elaine O’Hara’s south Dublin apartment.

The jury also heard testimony from witnesses, including Darci Day in the US, who said Dwyer’s fantasy was to stab a woman to death during sex.

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