Saturday 17 March 2018

State pathologist: I believed Graham Dwyer would be cleared of murder

Dr Marie Cassidy: Surprise at jury decision to convict Graham Dwyer for the murder of Elaine O’Hara
Dr Marie Cassidy: Surprise at jury decision to convict Graham Dwyer for the murder of Elaine O’Hara
Graham Dwyer
Elaine O'Hara

Kathryn Hayes

State pathologist Marie Cassidy has expressed surprise at the jury's guilty verdict in the Graham Dywer murder trial, based on the lack of pathological evidence.

Professor Cassidy - who, along with her colleagues, examined the decomposed remains of murder victim Elaine O'Hara - described the case as "fascinating" when she was asked her medical opinion on the two month trial that gripped the nation.

"We knew there was no pathology evidence to support anything so it came to what other evidence did they have... it's up to them to make a case and to present this case, and if they think the case is going to stand up in court, then the DPP will go ahead with it," she said.

"In that case, I thought: 'No, they will not go ahead with it...' And then, when we were waiting for the verdict coming in, I said, it has to be not guilty."

Dwyer, a 42-year-old architect from Foxrock, has lodged an appeal against his conviction for the murder of Ms O'Hara.

He was jailed for life for murdering the 36-year-old childcare assistant in the Dublin Mountains on August 22, 2012. Her partial and decomposed remains were found more than a year later and no cause of death could be ascertained.

Prof Cassidy spoke out after giving a presentation to medical students at the University Hospital Limerick entitled, 'Trust me, I'm a forensic scientist'.

She welcomed defence autopsies, where a second post-mortem examination is carried out by a forensic pathologist in cases of murder or homocides.

"One of the most useful things, and probably keeping us in check and making sure that things are done properly, is the defence autopsy," she said.

"In most cases now, where there has been a homicide or a murder, there will be a second autopsy carried out by another forensic pathologist. Safeguards and checks are a marvellous thing," she said.

Prof Cassidy said some pathologists don't like people checking over their work, but she thouth it was "a marvellous thing".

Irish Independent

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