MURDERER Warren Graham has lost his appeal against his conviction for murdering another man during a hoax drug deal.
Graham (22), of Shancastle Lawn, Clondalkin, Dublin, had claimed his conviction for the murder of Paul Keegan in December 2007 was unsafe and should be set aside.
Mr Keegan (42) was stabbed to death in a laneway behind Cherryfield Road in Walkinstown, Dublin, on December 10, 2007.
In March last year, a jury at the Central Criminal Court found Graham guilty of murder and he was sentenced to life in prison.
He appealed against his conviction on a number of grounds. He claimed the prosecuting barrister in the case had in effect foreclosed on the issue of whether self-defence could go before the jury.
He also claimed that certain statements taken by gardai should have been ruled inadmissible. And he claimed the trial judge's charge to the jury had been defective.
Yesterday Mr Justice Liam McKechnie, sitting with Mr Justice Paul Gilligan and Mr Justice Michael Hanna, dismissed his appeal on all grounds.
During the trial, Graham admitted that he knifed Mr Keegan in the back. However, he said he was acting in defence of his friend who was getting "the head boxed off him" by the deceased.
He sad: "I panicked, I had the knife and I just stabbed him... I didn't mean to kill him... I just wanted to get him off (my friend)."
After Graham handed himself into Crumlin garda station a week after the killing, he told gardai he only became involved in the drugs "rip" the night before it occurred, because he was in a lot of debt.
He said he was instructed by a another person to go to the lane behind Cherryfield Road in Walkinstown with his friend, and pretend they had 50kg of hash in the boot of their car for two men, the deceased and another man.
But the planned rip went badly wrong after Mr Keegan's companion ran off once the weapons were produced. Graham gave chase, while Mr Keegan tried to wrestle the firearm away from his friend.
Graham said he heard his friend scream for help, and after returning to the scene saw the two men fighting and covered in blood.
His friend wouldn't stop screaming "Jab him, jab him", he said. "I took this to mean stab him, so I did. In the back," he admitted to detectives.
When he found out afterwards that Mr Keegan had died, he said he felt like crying.
Graham had 13 previous convictions, including for assault causing harm, road traffic and public order offences.