Tuesday 15 October 2019

Lawyer paid €156,000 to prosecute Quirke for 'Mr Moonlight' murder

Prosecution: Michael Bowman SC at the Central Criminal Court during the Patrick Quirke case. Photo: Collins Courts
Prosecution: Michael Bowman SC at the Central Criminal Court during the Patrick Quirke case. Photo: Collins Courts

Gordon Deegan

The senior barrister who led the prosecution team that secured the conviction of Patrick Quirke for the murder of Bobby Ryan received more than €156,000 in fees for his work in the case.

Figures released by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request show Michael Bowman SC received €156,274 (excluding Vat) for his work in the case.

In the longest-running murder trial in the history of the State, at the Central Criminal Court, Mr Bowman presented the circumstantial evidence that led to the conviction of the Tipperary dairy farmer.

Quirke (50) is serving a life sentence for murder following a trial that gripped the country.

Mr Ryan (52), a part-time DJ known as 'Mr Moonlight', disappeared on the morning of June 3, 2011, after spending the night at his girlfriend Mary Lowry's home in Fawnagown, Co Tipperary.

It was alleged by the prosecution during the case that Quirke killed his victim so he could rekindle an affair he had with Ms Lowry between 2008 and 2010. It was also alleged Quirke staged his discovery of the body in a run-off tank on Ms Lowry's farm in April 2013 as his lease of the property was going to be terminated and he would be unable to keep the body hidden.

It was confirmed earlier this week Quirke has lodged an appeal against his conviction.

The €156,274 sum is made up of Mr Bowman receiving a brief fee of €8,316 to take on the case and the first day in court along with a 'refresher' fee of €2,000 for each day in court after the first day.

The total bill to the DPP for the three-strong counsel team was €297,841 (ex-Vat), with Mr Bowman's colleague David Humphries BL receiving €95,447 for his work on the case.

Mr Humphries's fees were made up of a brief fee of €5,544 and a refresher fee of €1,334.

In its FOI response, the DPP unit didn't name Mr Bowman or Mr Humphries due to General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

The bill to the taxpayer for Mr Quirke's defence team will be higher as it consisted of two senior counsel, Bernard Condon SC and Lorcan Staines SC, along with Edward Doocey BL.

The defence barristers were instructed by one of the best known criminal defence legal firms in the country, Michael Staines & Co. Mr Condon and Lorcan Staines would receive the same level of fees as Mr Bowman, showing that the senior counsel on both sides of the case cost a combined €468,816.

Mr Bowman led the State prosecution team in the Quirke case, but has established his reputation in the law library as the most in-demand defence barrister in the country.

Last year, Mr Bowman was the highest paid barrister under the Criminal Legal Aid scheme, earning €533,460 (ex-Vat) in fees, and this came after he was ranked the top-paid criminal defence barrister under the legal aid scheme in 2017, when he received €460,289 in fees.

Last year, Mr Bowman defended a number of clients in notorious cases. Mr Bowman represented Estonian hitman Imre Arakas (60), who was contracted by an international crime cartel to murder James Gately. Mr Arakas was jailed for six years.

Mr Bowman also represented Eoin Berkley (25), who was jailed for 14 years for the repeated rape of a Spanish student in July 2017.

Irish Independent

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