Thursday 18 January 2018

Wife killer Joe O’Reilly in court ‘to give some shape’ to his appeal

Joe O'Reilly
Joe O'Reilly

Brian Kavanagh

LAWYERS for convicted wife killer Joe O’Reilly have been 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.

O’Reilly (40), who this morning appeared before the appeal court wearing a grey suit and mauve shirt, has personally lodged an application under Section 2 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1993 to have his conviction declared a miscarriage of justice.

Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman said that the case had “fallen in to some vagueness from a procedural point of view” and the court had directed the attendance of O’Reilly so the case “might be given some shape”.

He said that issues raised in the grounds of appeal, including circumstances where the book of evidence was left in the jury room at the 2007 trial as well as meetings between various people, needed to be established in evidence and not simply asserted.

Mr Justice Hardiman said it appeared it was necessary for the grounds to be verified by an affidavit.

Counsel for the applicant, Mr Ronan Munro BL, told the court that his position extended to an instruction to attend this morning’s hearing from O’Reilly’s solicitor Frank Buttimer, who had just come on record.

He said he believed it would be beneficial for both parties to review the file in order to be of assistance to the court.

Mr Justice Hardiman said the court was not disposed to let the case drift, and if an affidavit was not filed it would have to be questioned in a formal way whether the case can proceed without such an affidavit.

He said the case could not “sit in the list in a strange way”, and although O’Reilly was entitled to bring an application the matter must proceed rapidly.

Mr Munro said he was in “complete agreement” that the evidential standard would have to be satisfied but he was not currently in a position to say what was to be done “one way or another”.

Mr Justice Hardiman said the matter would be put back until March 7th next, and while the court would not propose a condition that an affidavit must be ready, “some indication” of the how the case is to proceed must be given if it is proposed not to swear such an affidavit. 

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.

O’Reilly lost an appeal against that 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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