Gunman who killed rugby player Shane fails in court appeal
Published 09/06/2015 | 02:30
A man jailed for life for the murder of innocent rugby player Shane Geoghegan has lost his appeal against conviction.
Barry Doyle (29), of Portland Row in Dublin, had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Geoghegan in Limerick on November 9, 2008.
He was found guilty by a jury at the Central Criminal Court in February 2012 and was given the mandatory life sentence by Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan.
The trial court heard that Doyle admitted to gardaí that he shot Mr Geoghegan in a case of mistaken identity.
However, a principal ground of Doyle's appeal against conviction was that gardaí induced him to make these admissions.
But President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice Seán Ryan said none of Doyle's 27 grounds of appeal could succeed, his trial was "satisfactory" and his conviction "safe".
In a written judgment, Mr Justice Ryan said it was Doyle's solicitor who approached gardaí with an offer of the admission, if the gardaí agreed to release from custody Victoria Gunnery, Doyle's girlfriend.
It had to be assumed that the offer was made on Doyle's instructions and clearly he had the benefit of legal advice.
Doyle "knew what he was doing," the judgment stated, and this refuted his argument based on inducement.
Mr Justice Ryan said the gardaí endeavoured to get Doyle to engage with them. "They appealed to his sense of sympathy for the Geoghegan family. They actually appealed to his sense of morality.
"They suggested that he could not be proud of the situation in life to which he had sunk, as they invited him to see it."
Doyle's offer of his rosary beads to Shane Geoghegan's mother could be "seen as a gesture of remorse and sympathy".
The trial judge was entitled to find that the admissions were not brought about by any inducement or threat, Mr Justice Ryan said.
None of his other grounds of appeal involving material furnished to the jury, the judge's charge and the telephone records of a prosecution witness, April Collins, could succeed, according to the judgment.
Mr Justice Ryan, who sat with Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice John Edwards, dismissed the appeal.
Doyle was returned to prison where he will continue to serve out the rest of his life sentence.