Graham Dwyer fails in bid to overturn conviction for murder of Elaine O'Hara

Published date24 March 2023
President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham this morning delivered the judgement of the three-judge court, dismissing all grounds of appeal including a claim by Dwyer's lawyers that the use of call data records at his trial should lead to a retrial. Mr Justice Birmingham said: "In this case we are satisfied that the admission of limited call data evidence could not give rise to a miscarriage of justice."

He said that even if the evidence should not have been admitted at his trial, it was of little significance given that the prosecution was able to establish through other evidence that the phones, which contained evidence of his plan to murder Ms O'Hara, belonged to Dwyer. Dwyer (50), who murdered the vulnerable care worker for his sexual gratification in 2012, appealed his conviction after securing declarations that the retention of mobile phone data is a breach of rights under the European Charter on Fundamental rights.

His lawyers had argued that the retention of mobile phone data used in the case was an "opportunistic form of mass surveillance" that transforms phones into tracking devices that can reveal a detailed picture of every aspect of a person's life.nDwyer denied being the person who bought and used a phone found in Vartry Reservoir, Co Wicklow, to send messages regarding stabbing to Ms O'Hara and denies sending a text telling her to "go down to the shore and wait" on the day she was last seen, August 22, 2012.

Dwyer, a Cork-born architect with an address at Foxrock in Dublin, was convicted by a jury at the Central Criminal Court in 2015 of the murder of the 36-year-old. His victim had been discharged from a mental health hospital hours earlier.

Dwyer fantasized about stabbing a woman during sex and used Ms O'Hara to fulfil his fantasy. After murdering her he disposed of some of her belongings in Vartry reservoir and tried to make it look like she had committed suicide.

He dumped her body in a forest where it was found in 2013. At a previous hearing Sean Guerin SC, for the State, said there was still "overwhelming" evidence in the case that Dwyer was the user of the phone central to the case and that the prosecution had not been dependent on the disputed call data in securing the guilty verdict at trial.

"The appellant is over-stating, significantly, the use of the call data," said Mr Guerin, who said there was also the Garda process of investigating a suspect during an investigation to be considered. The barrister said Dwyer...

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