CCA dismisses appeal by man who murdered Chinese student

The Court of Criminal Appeal has dismissed a Dublin man's appeal against his conviction for the murder of a Chinese student who died after he was stabbed during a robbery.

Today the CCA comprised of Ms Justice Fidelma Macken, presiding sitting with Mr Justice Declan Budd and Mr Justice Daniel Herbert, rejected claims by Derek Wade, of Church Avenue, Rialto, that his convicted in March 2007 of the murder of Zhi Song (aged 23)was unsafe and should be quashed.

The trial was told Mr Song died as a result of being stabbed with a chef's carving knife at Mr Song's residence, on Reuben Avenue, off South Circular Road, in the early hours of June 29, 2005.

Wade was also convicted of attempting to rob Mr Song's girlfriend, Ms Xiau Wen Zhou, of her purse on the same occasion. He was given the mandatory life sentence by Mr Justice Barry White who also imposed a concurrent five-year sentence for the attempted robbery. Wade had denied the charges.

Wade's lawyers argued his conviction was unsafe on grounds including that fingerprints taken from Wade in 1999, while he was detained in Mountjoy Prison on another matter, were compared with fingerprints obtained by gardaí during the course of the investigation into Mr Song's death.

It was claimed that the prints taken in 1999 were used by gardaí to obtain a warrant on which his client was arrested and this use of fingerprints taken nine years earlier was unconstitutional and unlawful. The fingerprints were taken in 1999 for the purpose of issues concerning "the governance of prisons" and could not be given to a third party for another use.

From that point on, it was argued that the process against Wade was "tainted" and the taking of new fingerprints from Wade after his arrest in connection with Mr Song's death did not remedy the situation.

The State said it was entitled to use the 1999 fingerprints, which were lawfully taken, as part of their investigation into Mr Song's murder.

However in its judgment, rejecting all grounds of the appeal the CCA held that the fingerprints were taken, retained and transferred lawfully.The court noted that the fingerprints taken in 1999 were not those relied upon during Mr Wade's trail.

The 1999 prints were among the materials used in forming a reasonable suspicion to ground an application to a District Court judge for an arrest warrant. The fingerprints that were relied on in Mr Wade's trial were those taken after his arrest. No exception, the court added, was taken to those prints being used.

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