Friday 23 March 2018

Man found guilty of murder almost 20 years ago fails in bid to have conviction quashed by Court of Appeal

Buck sought to have his conviction quashed today in the Court of Appeal.
Buck sought to have his conviction quashed today in the Court of Appeal.

Ruaidhrí Giblin

A Tipperary man found guilty of murder almost 20 years ago, has had a bid to have his conviction declared a miscarriage of justice dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

Anthony Buck (41), with a last address at Garrymore, Clonmel, had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the murder of David Nugent in Tipperary on July 8, 1996.

He was convicted by a jury following “a lengthy trial” and was given the mandatory life sentence by Mr Justice John Quirke on February 2, 1998.

Buck sought to have his conviction quashed today in the Court of Appeal.

Counsel for Buck, John O'Kelly SC, submitted that alleged new or newly discovered facts had arisen as a result of the Supreme Court's decision on access to a solicitor during garda interviews known as 'Gormley and White'.

He contended that there had been a miscarriage of justice and his conviction should be quashed under section 2 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1992.

However, the three-judge Court of Appeal dismissed his application.

To put matters into context, Mr Justice George Birmingham, said the prosecution case relied on imcriminating statements made by Buck over the course of three interviews conducted following his arrest in July 1996.

Mr Justice Birmingham said Buck was arrested at his home in Clonmel at 2.54pm on Sunday July 14, 1996 and was brought to Cahir garda station.

Soon after his arrival, he asked gardaí to contact a solicitor to attend the station on his behalf.

It was claimed to be “of some significance” that the Sunday in question was the day of the Munster Hurling Final between Limerick and Tipperary because efforts to contact a solicitor in Cahir, Cashel, Tipperary, Clonmel and Carrick on Suir were unsuccessful, Mr Justice Birmingham said.

On the evening of July 14, a solicitor called to the station and he spent approximately half-an-hour with Buck, the judge said.

Up unitl the point of his arrival Buck had not made any admissions but in three interviews subsequent to the solicitors arrival, he did make admissions, the judge said.

Mr Justice Birmingham said the decision in Gormley and White was given many years after Buck's case was finally concluded.

It would do “violence to language” to suggest that a much later decision of the Supreme Court could be, under any circumstances, regarded as a newly discovered fact, he said.

There was “quite simply” no newly discoved fact to be found in Gormley and White and that would be sufficient to dispose of this appeal, the judge said.

Mr Justice Birmingham said it was also worth noting that the facts of this case were “very significantly different” to Gormley and White.

In Gormley, contact was made with one of the solictors requested and the gardaí had every reason to believe that the solicitor would attend the station shortly after contact was made.

Notwithstanding that, the suspect was interviewed and a number of incriminating statements were made.

That was “strikingly different” to what happend in Buck's case, the judge said.

Mr Justice Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and Mr Justice Alan Mahon, said the court was satisfied that the application was without substance and without merit.

The three-judge court accordingly dismissed the appeal.

Counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Patrick McCarthy SC, brought a motion to dismiss Buck's application on grounds that it was an “abuse of process” but the substance of Buck's application was opened and responded to in the normal way.

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