Eyes of justice | 

Killer Graham Dwyer’s grounds of appeal includes claim judge ‘glared’ at him

Mr Justice Tony Hunt glared at Dwyer and shook his head at a critical stage in the evidence, it was claimed

Shane PhelanIndependent.ie

The jury in Graham Dwyer’s trial should have been discharged after the trial judge allegedly glared at him, his legal team has argued.

While the main ground of Dwyer’s challenge to his murder conviction relates to the use of his mobile phone data, the “glaring” issue was one of 11 other grounds originally listed by his legal team.

Nine were put forward yesterday, with some grouped under specific themes and others the subject of written rather than oral submissions.​

The alleged glare

Mr Justice Tony Hunt glared at Dwyer and shook his head at a critical stage in the evidence, it was claimed. This was said to amount to adverse commentary on the evidence, depriving Dwyer of a fair trial.

Michael Bowman SC, for Dwyer, said a jury can pick up on “non-verbal cues” that “something has triggered the judge”. During an exchange on this point, Court of Appeal president George Birmingham remarked: “Some of the evidence in this trial was by any standards very shocking.”​

Murderer Graham Dwyer is appealing his conviction. Photo: Collins Courts

Alleged prejudice

Mr Bowman argued the trial judge erred by admitting videos of Dwyer engaging in sexual acts with Elaine O’Hara and other women. He said the defence accepted the probative value but sought to limit the evidence to a narrative description of the videos. The concern was the videos would overwhelm the ability of a jury to remain impartial, he said.

The videos showed Dwyer stabbing or pretending to stab women during the sex acts.

Mr Bowman also claimed Dwyer was “confronted with a hostile media environment” and that an event during the trial was “informative that the jury was reading the media”.

Refusal to discharge jury

Lawyers argue the jury should have been discharged due to a lack of evidence about what caused Ms O’Hara’s death. Her remains were found in a forest a year after she disappeared and had been interfered with by animals.

Mr Bowman said pathologist Dr Michael Curtis said the cause of death was undetermined.

Ms O’Hara had just been discharged from psychiatric care and a consultant psychiatrist gave evidence that the post-discharge period was “a risky time”. “The issue of suicide remained live and large in the case. There was nothing in the prosecution that takes it out,” Mr Bowman said.

Dwyer’s detention

Dwyer’s lawyers say memos of garda interviews should not have been admitted in circumstances where his solicitor was not present.

It was also alleged unidentified gardaí leaked information to the press to increase pressure on Dwyer during his interviews.​

If you have been affected by issues raised in this article please contact the Samaritans in confidence on 116 123.

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