Wednesday 26 October 2016

Convicted murderer Graham Dwyer wants legal aid for action on mobile phone records

Aodhain O'Faolain

Published 11/04/2016 | 15:38

Graham Dwyer
Graham Dwyer

Convicted murderer Graham Dwyer wants legal aid for his action against the Garda Commissioner and State over the use of mobile phone records in his trial.

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Dwyer initiated his High Court action in January 2015 but a hearing date has yet to be fixed.

The matter was in the court’s chancery list on Monday in relation to a motion seeking the court to make a recommendation that Dwyer gets legal aid for the proceedings. The motion was adjourned, on consent of the sides, to May 30th.

The application has been brought because the High Court proceedings are not covered by either civil or criminal legal aid.

Dwyer was charged in October 2013 with the murder of Elaine O’Hara and was convicted by a jury at the Central Criminal Court in March 2015. He was jailed for life and his appeal against conviction has yet to be heard.

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

Graham Dwyer Photo: Collins Courts
Graham Dwyer Photo: Collins Courts

In his High Court proceedings, Dwyer claims certain provisions of the Communications (Retention of Data) Act 2011 breach 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.

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

In his High Court action, Dwyer is also seeking, if appropriate, damages and, if necessary, a reference of issues to the European Court of Justice.

The proceedings are against the Garda Commissioner, Director of Public prosecutions, Ministers for Justice and Communications, Ireland and the Attorney General.

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