Sunday 19 November 2017

Elaine murder accused ‘no longer on a salary and is in mortgage arrears’

Architect Graham Dwyer granted free legal aid as court hears his Foxrock home is in negative equity

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

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

Judge Grainne Malone assigned defence solicitor Jonathan Dunphy on free legal aid, backdating it to Dwyer's first court appearance.

Judge Malone said Dwyer's means appeared to be insufficient for him to fund his own legal representation.

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

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

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

Dwyer, of Kerrymount Close in Foxrock, is charged with the murder of Elaine O'Hara, whose remains were found in the Dublin mountains on August 22, 2012.

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

The accused appeared before Cloverhill District Court this morning via videolink from Cloverhill Prison but was later brought to court for a legal aid application.

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 this afternoon.

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 wished Mr Dunphy to represent him.

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

Mr Dunphy said Dwyer, an architect, is no longer on a salary. He also said there is a mortgage on the defendant's home which was in arrears prior to the accused being charged with Ms O'Hara's murder.

Mr Dunphy further said Dwyer's home is in negative equity and he has no further assets to assist him in paying his legal fees.

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

Childcare worker Ms O'Hara, who also had a part-time job in a newsagents, was last seen at around 6.15pm on August 22, 2012 last year, 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.

Several items belonging to Ms O'Hara were found near Roundwood, Co Wicklow, at different times in the days before and after the discovery of her body.

Dwyer has been remanded at Cloverhill Prison since he was formally charged last month. Asked by Detective Sergeant Peter Woods if he had anything to say after charge, Dwyer replied "I do - not guilty".

Ms O'Hara, from Belarmine Plaza, Stepaside, had been missing for more than a year when her partial remains were found.

By Eimear Cotter

Online Editors

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