Friday 22 September 2017

Appeal date for Dwyer's phone records hearing

Stock photo
Stock photo

Aodhan O'Faolain

A High Court action brought by convicted murderer Graham Dwyer against the Garda Commissioner and State over the use of mobile phone records in his trial will be heard in February 2018.

Dwyer was charged in October 2013 with the murder of Elaine O'Hara and was convicted by a jury following a lengthy trial at the Central Criminal Court in March 2015.

In his High Court proceedings commenced in 2015, Dwyer claimed certain provisions of the Communications (Retention of Data) Act 2011 breached his rights to privacy under the Constitution, the European Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

The directive underlying the 2011 Act was struck down by the European Court of Justice in 2015.

He claimed the ECJ ruling means Irish legislation implementing the directive was illegal and data collected on his phone was therefore invalid.

Many requests for disclosure of mobile phone records were made under the relevant provisions of the 2011 Act by gardaí investigating Ms O'Hara's murder and were granted by the relevant service providers. Phone data was also admitted into evidence during the trial.

During Dwyer's trial, his lawyers argued the mobile phone data was inadmissible as evidence but those arguments were rejected.

The High Court proceedings are against the Garda Commissioner; Director of Public Prosecutions; ministers for justice and communications; Ireland; and the Attorney General.

The case was briefly mentioned before the Chancery Court yesterday, when lawyers for Dwyer and the State applied for a hearing date. The hearing of the action, which is expected to take six to eight days, was fixed for February 20 next.

In his action, Cork-born Dwyer, with an address in Foxrock, South Co Dublin, seeks, if appropriate, damages and, if necessary, a reference of issues to the European Court of Justice.

Irish Independent

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