Tuesday 21 November 2017

State gets last chance to gather Michaela evidence

Niamh O'Donoghue and Tom Tuite

THE State has been given a final chance to complete the book of evidence in the case of a Dublin teenager charged with the murder of 12-year-old schoolgirl Michaela Davis.

Jonathan Byrne (19), of Lohunda Downs, Clonsilla, in Dublin, is accused of murdering Michaela on the Porterstown Road in west Dublin on August 28.

He had been originally charged with her murder on August 30 and was then remanded in custody. Yesterday at Cloverhill District Court, Mr Byrne was further remanded for the fifth time, pending the preparation of a book of evidence by the State.

The defendant, who wore a dark top and dark trousers, did not speak during yesterday's brief court appearance to which he was accompanied by members of his family.

Detective Sergeant Daniel Callaghan of Blanchardstown garda station asked Judge Bridget Reilly for an extension so that the book of evidence could be completed and served on the defendant.

Det Sgt Callaghan explained to the judge that he needed another "fortnight or three weeks at the outside".

Defence counsel Austin O Briain consented to the garda's application for an extension but requested that the case would be marked "peremptory against the State", to which Judge Reilly consented.

This means the book of evidence must be ready to be served on the accused at his next court appearance, otherwise the prosecution against him could be struck out.

The judge adjourned the case and remanded the defendant to appear before the same court again on December 7.

Michaela Davis was a first-year student at Luttrellstown and attended her first classes a week before she went missing in the early hours of August 28.

She was reported missing shortly after 2am, about two hours after leaving her home in the Village development in the Blanchardstown area. The schoolgirl had told family members she would return shortly.

Her partially clothed body was found shortly before 4pm in undergrowth on a bank of the Royal Canal.

Irish Independent

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