Wednesday 21 February 2018

Rachel killer's bid for legal aid

Brian Kavanagh and Grainne Cunningham

WIFE-KILLER Joe O'Reilly has applied for legal aid in a bid to have his murder conviction declared a miscarriage of justice.

This is one of the last legal avenues open to O'Reilly.

He is serving a life sentence for brutally beating his wife Rachel, pictured, to death in the bedroom of their bungalow in the Naul, Co Dublin, eight years ago.

The 38-year-old was not present at the Court of Criminal Appeal yesterday when his application was adjourned to next month.

State solicitor Padraic Taylor told the court that O'Reilly had personally lodged an application under section 2 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1993.

The Act states that a person who remains convicted after appeal may apply to the court to have their conviction quashed, based on alleged new or newly discovered facts that show a miscarriage of justice occurred.


Since his conviction in July 2007, O'Reilly has repeatedly tried to have his conviction quashed.

He lost an appeal in 2009 when his defence lawyers claimed that CCTV footage used to convict him during the original four-week trial should never had been admitted.

The footage showed a car matching the description of O'Reilly's Fiat Marea in the vicinity of the Naul around the time Rachel was attacked -- a time when O'Reilly had claimed to be miles away.

The defence also challenged mobile-phone technology evidence provided by 02 and used by the gardai to place O'Reilly in and around the scene of the crime.

Then in August of this year, O'Reilly failed in a subsequent attempt to have his conviction quashed after arguing that his detention in the Midlands Prison was unlawful.

O'Reilly told the court he had been unable to engage the services of a solicitor and was dealing with his application through the post while also applying for legal aid.

He wrote to the court claiming his detention was unlawful because he had a more restricted access to the courts than other citizens and was disadvantaged by not being permitted to attend personally.

But the judge rejected the argument and said that O'Reilly had been lawfully sentenced and until that sentence was quashed by a court of competent jurisdiction, he must serve it.

If O'Reilly is to mount a further appeal, he must show the court that he has uncovered new evidence not used at the original trial.

Following the hearing yesterday, Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman put the matter back to the next case-management list in November.

Irish Independent

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