Murderer of father of six loses point-of-law appeal

Warren Dumbrell was convicted of killing Christopher Cawley in October 2006. Picture: Courtpix

A man convicted of the murder of a father of six in front of his wife and children has failed in his latest appeal on a point of law.

Warren Dumbrell, aged 40, or Emmet Place, Inchicore, Dublin, had sought a referral to the Supreme Court of a Court of Criminal Appeal decision last July dismissing his appeal against conviction for the murder of Christopher Cawley, aged 33, on October 29, 2006.

His brother Jeffrey Dumbrell, who was also convicted of the same murder, also lost his appeal.

The brothers’ trial heard that Mr Cawley was fatally stabbed on the stairway of the flat complex where he lived at Tyrone Place in Inchicore.

Mr Cawley’s wife Janette, five-year-old son, and eldest daughter saw the attack.

One of the Dumbrells said to the dead man’s daughter as he walked away, “Your daddy’s gone now”, the court also heard.

Warren Dumbrell asked the Court of Criminal Appeal to refer his case to the Supreme Court on the basis that he had a point of law of exceptional importance and, in the public interest, it was desirable that an appeal should be taken.

The point of law centred on whether an accused person drops their shield against self-incrimination when they seek to introduce the previous convictions of, in this case, Mr Cawley.

The dropping of the shield is provided for under Section 33 of the 2010 Criminal Procedure Act.

Mr Dumbrell’s lawyers wanted the Supreme Court to establish if that section of the act went against previously established case law which stated the shield was not dropped if the matters complained of related directly to evidence given in the case.

Yesterday, Ms Justice Susan Denham, on behalf of the three-judge Court of Criminal Appeal, said Mr Dumbrell had raised a hypothetical point as it was not him, but his brother, who dropped his shield during the trial by stating the deceased had 106 previous convictions for carrying knives and for firearm offences.

Warren Dumbrell’s shield had not been dropped and as his argument was hypothetical, it was not a basis to meet the requirements necessary for a referral of the case to the Supreme Court. “The Court of Criminal Appeal does not determine answers to hypothetical questions under this jurisdiction.”


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