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'tittle tattle' Ruling due on appeal of Patrick Quirke against conviction for killing love rival Bobby ‘Mr Moonlight’ Ryan

Mr Ryan's family remain hopeful the conviction will be upheld this morning

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Patrick Quirke. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Patrick Quirke. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Patrick Quirke. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Killer Patrick Quirke is to learn today if he has been successful in his appeal against his conviction for the murder of love rival Bobby Ryan.

The Court of Appeal is to give its ruling this morning, 13 months after hearing claims from Quirke’s lawyers that irrelevant and prejudicial material went before a jury.

They argued certain evidence was “allowed in” without being proved.

The long-awaited ruling will be given by a three-judge panel comprising Mr Justice George Birmingham, Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy.

Mr Ryan’s family is hopeful the conviction, secured at the Central Criminal Court in May 2019 following the longest trial in the history of the State, will be upheld. The case lasted 13 weeks and gripped the nation.

Quirke (52), of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary, got an automatic life sentence. The case against him relied heavily on circumstantial evidence.

No murder scene or weapon were ever found and there was no forensic evidence.

The victim, a part-time DJ known as ‘Mr Moonlight’, was aged 52 when he disappeared on the morning of June 3, 2011 after spending the night at his girlfriend Mary Lowry’s home in Fawnagown, Co Tipperary.

His body was discovered in a run-off tank on Ms Lowry’s farm, which Quirke had been renting, in April 2013. The prosecution alleged the find was staged by Quirke as his lease was to be terminated and he was about to lose control of the land. Ms Lowry, a widow, had previously been in a relationship with Quirke, a farmer married to her late husband’s sister, between 2008 and 2012.

The prosecution case was that Quirke carried out the murder so he could rekindle his love affair with Ms Lowry.

The three appeal court judges were left with much to consider following a four-day hearing in October last year.

Overall, 52 grounds of appeal were submitted.

Much of the appeal centred on decisions made by the trial judge, Ms Justice Eileen Creedon, to allow certain evidence before the jury.

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In the course of the trial she made over 60 rulings on the admissibility of evidence.

Bernard Condon SC, for Quirke, claimed much of what the jury heard was “tittle tattle” about “who looked crooked at who”. He claimed Quirke was subjected to “mocking” and “prurient” questioning about his relationship with Ms Lowry in Garda interviews, comments that should not have gone to the jury.

Comments made by a garda while interviewing Quirke that he had “sex on demand and cash on demand” from Ms Lowry were allowed go before the jury “without any particular reason or analysis”, Mr Condon argued.

He claimed the judge allowed “a very large amount of sub issues and side issues and sniffing underwear on clothes lines” to be admitted, a reference to Ms Lowry’s claim Quirke stole her knickers.

Mr Condon also claimed Ms Lowry gave inconsistent and unreliable testimony.

He argued evidence about financial arrangements was allowed go before the jury even though it was not proven. The trial had heard Ms Lowry gave Quirke €80,000 to invest for her and he had shared the proceeds.

A further issue raised was a claim the defence was unfairly impacted by the repeated late disclosure of evidence.

Patrick Bowman SC, for the DPP, told the appeals court much of the evidence complained of was necessary to set out the context for the murder.

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