The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal by Graham Dwyer against his conviction for the murder of Elaine O’Hara.
The three judges said that they were not prepared to uphold the appeal on any grounds, and that they had not been persuaded that the trial was unfair, or that the verdict was unsafe.
Dwyer had appealed his 2015 conviction on a number of grounds – including the admissibility of garda interviews conducted with him, and issues linked to evidence from mobile-phone call data.
The judges said that the admission of the “very limited” call-data evidence in the trial “could not conceivably be regarded as giving rise to a miscarriage of justice”.
“Even if it was the situation that the view was reached that the call-data records should not have been admitted, we would dismiss the appeal, being of the view that there had been no miscarriage of justice here, and that there had been no lost chance of acquittal,” the Court of Appeal stated.
They said that other evidence – including from text messages – was “as powerful and arguably more compelling” than evidence from the call-data records. The judges pointed out that the admissibility of evidence from text messages was not in controversy.
On the gardaí’s conduct of interviews with Dwyer, the court said that the trial judge’s approach to the issue of whether Dwyer’s solicitor had been provided with enough information “cannot be criticised”.
“While we can readily understand why the leaking of information must have been a source of annoyance and irritation to the appellant’s legal advisers, we regard the suggestion that it should impact on the admissibility of the memoranda of interviews as strained,” the judges said.
The court also rejected a suggestion that the trial judge’s admission of explicit video clips was prejudicial, and ruled that criticism of the trial judge’s facial expression during the trial “falls very far short of what would be required before a trial would be condemned as unsatisfactory”.