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Tuesday 20 March 2018

Christmas freedom bid denied for Elaine O'Hara murder accused

Graham Dwyer pictured leaving the Four Courts
Graham Dwyer pictured leaving the Four Courts
Graham Dwyer, inset, Elaine O'Hara

Murder accused Graham Dwyer has lost his Supreme Court bid to released on bail.

This afternoon, the Supreme Court upheld an earlier decision of the High Court to deny bail to the architect.

A three judge court led by Chief Justice Susan Denham dismissed the appeal.

Mr Dwyer will now be returned to custody pending his trial.

Father of two Graham Dwyer (41) is accused of the murder of childcare worker Elaine O'Hara, whose remains were found by a woman walking her dog in the Dublin mountains last September.

She had been missing for more than a year.

The opening of an inquest into her death heard that no cause of death has been established and the inquest has been adjourned until the outcome of criminal proceedings is known.

Last month Mr Dwyer, who is originally from Cork and is a member of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland, was denied bail at the High Court.

He appealed that refusal to the Supreme Court which sat today following requests by Mr Dwyer and the Director of Public Prosecutions for a priority hearing.

Mr Dwyer, a married man who has been in custody since he was formally charged last October, was present in court for the appeal.

Reporting restrictions were imposed on the original bail hearing in accordance with section 2 of the 1997 Bail Act as amended by action 7 of the Criminal Justice Act 2007.

The Supreme Court made a similar order prohibiting the publication of any of the evidence.

The Supreme Court, which received written as well as oral submissions during the brief one hour hearing, were told that there were three grounds to Mr Dwyer's appeal.

Senior Counsel Remy Farrell, for Mr Dwyer, said that the second ground of appeal - a claim that the High Court judge who refused bail failed to give adequate weight to Mr. Dwyer's entitlement to presumption of innocence- was the most significant".

Senior Counsel Sean Guerin, for the DPP, said that there was no suggestion the presumption of innocence was dismissed or disapplied by the High Court judge.

M Guerin said there was "a simple and sound logical basis" for distinguishing Mr Dwyer's case from a number of other High Court bail refusals that had been appealed to and ruled on by the Supreme Court.

Mr Dwyer has been remanded at Cloverhill Prison since he was formally charged with the murder of 37-year-old Ms O'Hara in October.

His parents were in court on November 4 last when High Court Judge Mr Justice Paul Butler refused bail.

At that hearing, Judge Butler heard that Mr Dwyer's father had offered an independent surety of €25,000 and for Mr Dwyer to stay at an address in Bandon, Co Cork.

Earlier this week  Dwyer, of Kerrymount Close in Foxrock, appeared via videolink before Cloverhill District Court.

He did not address the court, save to give his name and indicate he could see and hear the court.

A State solicitor said the DPP has directed trial on indictment in the Central Criminal Court on the charge.

Defence solicitor Jonathan Dunphy said there was consent to a four week adjournment in custody for the service of the book of evidence, though the State has already indicated the book may not be ready on the next date.

A State solicitor said the book of evidence was large, and was an "eight volume tome".

Judge Grainne Malone remanded Dwyer in custody until January 15.

Childcare worker Ms O'Hara, who was from Killiney, Co Dublin, and who also had a part-time job in a newsagents, was last seen at around 6.15pm on August 22, 2012, near the Shanganagh Cemetery in south Dublin, where her mother is buried.

Her remains were found in undergrowth by a woman walking her dog on September 13 this year on Killakee mountain, Rathfarnham, more than a year after she was reported missing.

By chance, several items belonging to her were also found near Roundwood, Co Wicklow, in the days before and after the discovery of her remains.

Dearbhail McDonald, Legal Editor

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