Tuesday 16 January 2018

Wife killer Joe O'Reilly has miscarriage of justice bid struck out

Joe O'Reilly
Joe O'Reilly

By Aodhan O'Faolain

Joe O'Reilly's bid to have his conviction for the murder of his wife Rachel declared a miscarriage of justice has been struck out by the Court of Criminal Appeal.

However this morning at the CCA Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman granted O'Reilly's lawyers permission to re-enter the application when it is ready to proceed. 

In July 2007 Joe O’Reilly was convicted by a Central Criminal Court jury and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his wife at their home in the Naul, Co. Dublin. The badly beaten body of Rachel O’Reilly (30) was found in the bedroom of her home on October 4th, 2004.

Last year O’Reilly (40), who was not present in court today, lodged an application under Section 2 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1993 to have his 2007 conviction declared a miscarriage of justice.

The matter was before the court today after Mr Justice Hardiman had previously asked O'Reilly's lawyers to give “some indication” of the how the case is to proceed.

O'Reilly's lawyers were also asked to indicate whether evidence will be adduced in relation to issues raised in his grounds of appeal, which include circumstances where a book of evidence was left in the jury room during his 2007 trial. The Judge had previously told O'Reilly's lawyers that application the matter must proceed rapidly.

Today counsel for the applicant, Mr Ronan Munro BL ,said that more time was required by lawyers representing O'Reilly to review what was a substantial case file.

Counsel said that solicitor Frank Buttimer had came on record for O'Reilly a few weeks ago needed more time. Despite their best efforts to move the case along, an adjournment of a further eight weeks was required, counsel said.

Mr Justice Hardiman said it was not appropriate that the matter remain in the CCA's list being adjourned from time to time. Such applications should be done  expeditiously,  he held.

While the court welcome the fact that Mr Buttimer had come on record, he noted that O'Reilly himself and without legal advice, had brought the application to have his conviction declared a miscarriage of justice last November.

The Judge said he was striking out the application and was granting liberty to re-enter the matter when it was ready, and when it can be shown what the case is about.

O’Reilly lost an appeal against his 2007 conviction in 2009, while in August 2012 he failed in a subsequent attempt to have his conviction quashed after arguing his detention in the Midlands Prison was unlawful.

Last November O’Reilly was granted legal aid in his bid to have his conviction declared a miscarriage of justice after the State lodged no objection. However, the State did indicate that there would be significant opposition to any bail application put forward by O’Reilly.

Section 2 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1993 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.

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