Saturday 24 August 2019

Quirke lodges appeal against conviction for murder of love rival

Lawyers using 'several grounds' to challenge verdict

Patrick Quirke: Jailed for life after majority guilty verdict. Picture: Steve Humphreys
Patrick Quirke: Jailed for life after majority guilty verdict. Picture: Steve Humphreys
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Farmer Pat Quirke is appealing his conviction for the murder of love rival Bobby Ryan.

Lawyers for Quirke filed a notice of appeal on May 16, the Courts Service has confirmed.

The move was expected. Within days of his conviction earlier this month, the Irish Independent revealed Quirke fully intended to appeal.

The grounds of appeal have not yet been disclosed, but it is known various grounds have been considered by his lawyers in the weeks since the trial concluded.

Quirke (50) was jailed for life on May 1 after a jury found him guilty of murder on a majority verdict of 10-2 at the Central Criminal Court.

The case, which lasted 15 weeks, was the longest murder trial in the history of the State.

The farmer, from Breanshamore, Co Tipperary, denied any involvement in the murder of Mr Ryan (52), a quarry worker and part-time DJ known as 'Mr Moonlight'.

The prosecution's case was that Quirke murdered his victim and hid the body in an underground tank so he could rekindle an affair with widow Mary Lowry, who was in a relationship with Mr Ryan.

An informed source said there would be several grounds of appeal.

A number will centre on rulings made in the absence of the jury by trial judge Ms Justice Eileen Creedon.

Throughout the case, concerns were raised by the defence over the late disclosure of evidence and the Garda investigation.

But requests to discharge the jury over these issues were rejected by Ms Justice Creedon.

The judge also rejected an application from the defence for a direction to the jury to acquit Quirke on the grounds the evidence against him was speculative and any conviction would be unsafe.

Remarks made by the judge during her charge to the jury also led to an application to have jurors discharged.

Quirke's defence team claimed its position was harmed when Ms Justice Creedon made comments to the effect the prosecution did not have to prove the location of Mr Ryan's death.

They sought the discharge of the jury as they believed the judge's remarks could not be remedied.

However, while Ms Justice Creedon clarified the remarks, she rejected the application.

The judge said that in fact what the prosecution had to prove was that the death of Mr Ryan occurred in Co Tipperary, but in law it did not have to prove a specific location.

She also told the jury that the time, date and location of the killing were an issue in the case, but it was up to them to decide what weight to give to evidence and they needed to bear in mind the burden of proof was on the prosecution.

Mr Ryan disappeared on the morning of June 3, 2011, after spending the night at Ms Lowry's home in Fawnagown, Co Tipperary.

Quirke "discovered" the body in a run-off tank on Ms Lowry's farm in April 2013.

But the prosecution said the discovery was staged as his lease on the property was going to be terminated and he would be unable to ensure the body remained hidden.

Quirke was moved from Mountjoy to Limerick Prison on Sunday to serve out his life sentence.

Irish Independent

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