Wednesday 7 December 2016

Man jailed for rape and child abduction to appeal unsuccessful court action over recording of solicitor's prison calls

Ruaidhrí Giblin

Published 29/01/2016 | 11:35

Michael Murray
Michael Murray

A man jailed for 15 years for the rape and sexual assault of a woman whose child he abducted in the same incident is set to appeal an unsuccessful High Court action taken against the State after it emerged his solicitors' calls were recorded in prison.

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The unsuccessful action was brought by Michael Murray (44), formerly of Killiney Oaks, Killiney, Dublin, who was jailed at the Central Criminal Court in 2013 for 15 years for rape, attempted rape, oral rape and aggravated sexual assault, child abduction, threats to kill or cause serious harm, false imprisonment and theft.

Murray, who represented himself for the High Court case taken against the Irish Prison Service and the Minister for Justice, had sought injunctions restraining prison authorities from intercepting his calls, certain declarations and damages.

Dismissing his application last July, Mr Justice Seamus Noonan said it was beyond dispute that the recording of Murray’s telephone calls was “inappropriate and ought not to have occurred”.

There was however, “undisputed evidence” that the calls weren’t accessed. Similarly, evidence was unchallenged that the recordings were made inadvertently, he said.

The Court of Appeal heard today that Murray was now legally represented and that he was appealing his unsuccessful High Court case.

Counsel for Murray, Joseph Mulrean BL, told Mr Justice John Edwards that the appeal was listed for hearing on March 1 next.

Mr Mulrean said the action concerned the recording of privileged telephone calls to Murray's solicitor by the Irish Prison Service and the outcome of the appeal may or may not impact on criminal proceedings involving his client.

Murray has sought to appeal his conviction and the Director of Public Prosecutions are seeking a review of his 15 year sentence on grounds that it was “unduly lenient”.

Barrister Tony McGillicuddy BL, for the DPP, told Mr Justice Edwards that 15 years itself was a “significant sentence” and his side wanted to consider some reasoned judgments from the court in rape cases.

Mr Justice Edwards put both criminal proceedings back to March 4 next and said “hopefully there will be some indication as to what progress is being made” on that date.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Noonan said Murray had not put any evidence before the court to demonstrate the slightest prejudice arising from what appears to have been a “technical infringement at best of his rights”.

Once the prison authorities became alive to the inadvertent recording, Mr Justice Noonan said, steps were immediately taken to rectify the position.

Mr Justice Noonan said there was no ongoing or threatened infringement of Murray’s rights in this matter.

No declaration was required to vindicate his rights and no issue of damages could arise.

Accordingly, he dismissed Murray’s application and awarded costs against him.

The Central Criminal Court had heard that Murray lured his female victim into an apartment by telling her that an elderly woman was dying inside and needed her help.

He tied her up and assaulted her before taking her son away abandoning him in a city centre square late at night. He returned to the flat where he drugged and raped his victim.

The offences all occurred February 12th and 13th, 2010 in a Dublin apartment. Murray denied the charges, however he was found guilty on all counts by a unanimous jury decision.

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