The Court of Appeal has refused to allow fresh evidence in an appeal being brought by the teenager who lured 14-year-old schoolgirl Ana Kriegel to a derelict house so that his friend could murder her.
Following the ruling, the court set a date of October 5 to hear the full appeal against the now 17-year-old teenager's murder conviction.
Mr Justice George Birmingham, delivering the ruling of the three-judge court today, said that the application to bring fresh evidence on behalf of the teenager known only as Boy B does not come near the threshold set for such cases.
He said that Boy B was attempting to "set at naught" the way that his trial was run and having hired a new legal team was trying to run an entirely different case in the appeal court.
Boy B's lawyers had sought to introduce reports written by eminent psychologists who were critical of an expert called by Boy B's trial lawyers. The reports also claimed that Boy B was subjected to "manipulation and pressure" by gardaí during interviews, that his mind was "substantially overborne" and that the account Boy B gave to gardaí may have been misleading.
Mr Justice Birmingham today said that it was "unusual" that Boy B's lawyers were challenging the admissibility of his interviews when there was "no challenge whatsoever" during his trial.
It was open to his trial lawyers to get reports from the same experts now relied on and to raise issues if they felt the interviews were not voluntary.
He added: "At no point during the trial was it suggested that the responses to questions from the appellant were coerced, or anything other than voluntary. The appellant's position was that, while lies were initially told, he eventually presented a true picture of what had occurred, the true picture being that he was an observer or eyewitness but not a participant."
He further stated that any suggestion that Boy B had "buckled" during interview and had given an involuntary account was negated by the fact that in June 2018 he gave a similar account to a friend which included saying that he saw Boy A attacking Ana.
Mr Justice Birmingham said the application to admit new evidence was "radical" as it amounted to an attempt to: "set at naught the way the trial was run on his behalf. More than three years after the trial, the appellant seeks to run an entirely different case. He does so despite the fact there has never been any suggestion of inadequate legal representation provided to him by the solicitor, junior or senior counsel who represented him at trial."
At a previous hearing Brendan Grehan SC, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, said that while Boy B clearly lied in his garda interviews, there is no suggestion that he has denied that the final account he gave to gardaí was true.
In his garda interviews, Boy B initially denied any knowledge of what happened to Ana and gave several different accounts of what he had done and seen. In his final interview he admitted to seeing Boy A assault Ana and remove some of her clothing but denied that he played any part in her murder. His lawyers argued at his trial that he was an innocent by-stander.
The jury accepted the prosecution's case that Boy B lured Ana to the house by telling her that Boy A wanted to meet her, knowing that Boy A intended to kill her.
He watched as Boy A, who was dressed all in black and wearing a ghoulish mask, shin guards and knee pads, sexually assaulted Ana having dragged her to the ground where he beat her repeatedly with a piece of wood and a large block. In his garda interviews Boy B also admitted that Boy A had previously told him that he wanted to kill Ana.
Boy A and Boy B were convicted by a Central Criminal Court jury in June 2019 of murdering Ana at a derelict house in St Catherine’s Park in Lucan in May 2018. Both boys were 13 at the time of the murder. Boy A was also convicted of Ana's aggravated sexual assault in a manner that involved serious violence.
Boy B was sentenced to 15 years’ detention, to be reviewed after eight years.
Boy A was sentenced to life imprisonment with a review after 12 years, and eight years imprisonment for aggravated sexual assault. No appeal has been lodged on Boy A's behalf.