Friday 24 January 2020

Notorious murderer Graham Dwyer still not removed from register of architects

Case: Graham Dwyer’s appeal is on hold pending the data ruling. Photo: Collins Courts.
Case: Graham Dwyer’s appeal is on hold pending the data ruling. Photo: Collins Courts.
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Convicted murderer Graham Dwyer has been able to remain on the official register of architects, the Irish Independent has learned.

His membership of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI) was automatically revoked when he was found guilty of the horrific murder of childcare worker Elaine O’Hara. However, almost five years later, the RIAI has yet to consider the withdrawal of his registration.

Legal observers believe the RIAI may have delayed action after Dwyer lodged an appeal against his conviction and took civil proceedings against the State.

Dwyer (47) met 36-year-old Ms O’Hara online and his trial heard he stabbed her to death for his own sexual gratification.

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She disappeared in August 2012 and her remains were found 13 months later in the Dublin Mountains.

The RIAI said Dwyer's membership of the organisation was automatically revoked when he was found guilty by a jury at the Central Criminal Court in March 2015.

However, the regulatory and support body for architects confirmed Dwyer was still on its register of architects.

By law only persons on the register can use the title "architect". They can only be removed from the register following an investigation by a professional conduct committee and their removal must be confirmed by the High Court.

In a statement, the RIAI said it did not comment on cases "that may or may not be under consideration by the professional conduct committee".

Dwyer is serving a life sentence at the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise and is in the process of appealing his murder conviction. However, the appeal is on hold while a Supreme Court judgment is awaited regarding the State's appeal of a High Court finding on data-retention laws.

Dwyer is arguing the judge in his murder trial erred by allowing into evidence call data records from his mobile phone and another handset attributed to him. This information played a crucial part in the investigation leading to his conviction.

The High Court ruled in 2018 the legislation under which gardaí accessed the records contravened EU law and the European Convention on Human Rights. The State says the ruling has had enormous adverse consequences for the investigation and prosecution of serious crime. A ruling by the Supreme Court is expected soon.

The RIAI said its articles of association at the date of Dwyer's conviction provided that a person convicted of a felony shall by that very fact or act cease to be a member. However, this does not mean they are removed from RIAI register as well. It said that on foot of a complaint about a registered architect, the RIAI's professional practice committee may investigate a person's conduct and direct their removal from the register.

Irish Independent

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