Sunday 27 May 2018

Architect on murder charge gets legal aid

Accused Graham Dwyer
Elaine O'Hara

THE architect accused of the murder of childcare worker Elaine O'Hara has been granted legal aid after a court heard he is no longer on a salary and is in mortgage arrears.

Father-of-two Graham Dwyer (41) is also in negative equity on his Foxrock home.

Defence solicitor Jonathan Dunphy told Cloverhill District Court he did not propose going through the legal aid statement or calling his client to give evidence about his financial circumstances.

Mr Dunphy said there were details in the statement concerning possible family law and employment law matters, involving other parties which were not legally presented before the court.

Judge Grainne Malone assigned Mr Dunphy on legal aid, backdating it to Mr Dwyer's first court appearance.

The judge further remanded Mr Dwyer in custody to December 18 for DPP's directions on the charge.

Earlier, a detective outlined the extent of the garda investigation into the death of Ms O'Hara, revealing the investigation file contains 441 lines of inquiry, 336 statements, 349 reports and 814 exhibits.

Detective Sergeant Peter Woods said the investigation was at an advanced stage and he expected the file would be ready in the next two weeks to go to the DPP's office for directions.

STATEMENT

Mr Dwyer, of Kerrymount Close in Foxrock, Dublin, is charged with the murder of Elaine O'Hara on August 22 last year.

Earlier this month, Mr Dwyer – who is originally from Cork – was denied bail at the High Court.

The accused made his court appearance yesterday via videolink from Cloverhill Prison but was later brought to court for a legal aid application.

Mr Dwyer was wearing a grey tracksuit and black polo T-shirt when he appeared via videolink but he had changed into a black polo neck and black trousers when he was brought before the court.

Mr Dwyer acknowledged an elderly gentleman in the body of the court.

He spoke only to confirm the contents of a legal aid statement and that he wanted Mr Dunphy to represent him.

Mr Dunphy told the court that Dwyer had filled out a new legal aid statement as his circumstances had altered slightly since he went into custody.

Mr Dunphy said his client was no longer on a salary.

He also said there was a mortgage on the defendant's home, which was in arrears prior to the accused being charged.

Mr Dunphy added that Mr Dwyer's home was in negative equity and he had no further assets to assist him in paying his legal fees.

The solicitor did not propose calling his client or going through the legal aid statement.

MOTHER

Judge Malone said she believed it was appropriate to grant free legal aid.

Childcare worker Ms O'Hara, who also worked part-time in a newsagents, was last seen at around 6.15pm on August 22, 2012, near Shanganagh cemetery in south Dublin, where her mother is buried.

Her skeletal remains were found in undergrowth by a woman walking her dog on September 13 this year on Killakee mountain, Rathfarnham.

Eimear Cotter

Irish Independent

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