Graham Dwyer’s bid to overturn his conviction for the murder of childcare worker Elaine O’Hara will begin at the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) tomorrow.
The court in Luxembourg will hear arguments on key legal issues concerning the retention of mobile phone data, which will directly affect the murderer’s bid to overturn his conviction.
A well-placed security source said gardaí are “well aware and concerned” about the case and the potential significance for the architect’s appeal against his murder conviction if the mobile phone records are ruled out.
Not only that, but the outcome of the case will also affect how gardaí investigate serious crime, as phone data is regularly relied upon in criminal investigations.
Attorney General Paul Gallagher is expected to lead the State’s legal team at tomorrow’s hearing. The case was referred to the EU court by the Irish Supreme Court.
The hearing is scheduled to be heard over one day, a CJEU spokesman told this newspaper.
The 48-year-old will not attend the hearing, which will not be available to stream online.
The EU referral was made in February 2020 in the State’s appeal over a key High Court ruling against the validity of a 2011 Irish data retention law central to the investigation and prosecution of serious crime.
The Court of Justice decision, which is expected to be delivered by the end of the year, will impact on the final Supreme Court judgment on the State’s appeal.
If the High Court ruling is upheld, the former architect is expected to rely on it in his separate criminal appeal to the Court of Appeal over his 2015 conviction for the murder of the vulnerable childcare worker.
Dwyer, originally from Cork, was living in Foxrock, south Dublin, when he was jailed for life in 2015 for the murder of Ms O’Hara.
The childcare worker went missing in August 2012, after last being seen in Shanganagh Park, Co Dublin. It was first presumed she had taken her own life after visiting her mother’s grave.
Her skeletal remains were found on Killakee Mountain in Rathfarnham, south Dublin, on September 13, 2013.
That same year a number of items, including handcuffs and ball-gags, were discovered in the Vartry Reservoir, near Roundwood, Co Wicklow, by fishermen.
In the ensuing investigation, gardaí discovered Ms O’Hara had been a member of an adult fetish website. Investigators were able to link her account to Dwyer’s, and discovered they had communicated through the site since 2007.
The jury found the architect had stabbed her to death for his own sexual gratification, following a sadistic relationship in which he had exploited Ms O’Hara’s wish to be loved.
Phone metadata played an important role in Dwyer’s conviction for murder. It placed him close to the scene of her killing and linked him to lurid text messages recovered from phones.
Those messages set out in detail his twisted relationship with Ms O’Hara, right up to the day of her death in 2012. However, the killer claims the use of the phone records breaches his rights, including his right to privacy.