Dwyer granted free legal aid in murder case

An architect accused of murdering childcare worker Elaine O’Hara, whose remains were found in the Dublin mountains, has been granted free legal aid.

Graham Dwyer, originally from Cork but with an address at Kerrymount Close, Foxrock, Dublin, is charged with the murder of Ms O’Hara, 37, in Co Dublin on Aug 22, 2012.

Yesterday, a court heard gardaí have taken more than 300 statements and have in excess of 800 exhibits. Mr Dwyer was further remanded in custody for another four weeks as a judge held that he was entitled to free legal aid.

The 41-year-old married father of two had been held for questioning overnight at Blackrock Garda station before being brought to appear at Dún Laoghaire District Court on Oct 18.

At that hearing, Det Sgt Peter Woods had said Mr Dwyer had been cautioned and, when asked if had anything to say after he was charged, he had replied: “I do, not guilty.”

He had been remanded in custody and, following Garda objections to him being released, he was refused bail by Mr Justice Paul Butler in the High Court on Nov 4.

Yesterday, Mr Dwyer appeared again via videolink before Judge Gráinne Malone at Cloverhill District Court.

Det Sgt Woods told the court there were 441 lines of inquiry, 336 statements had been taken so far, and there were 814 exhibits. He said a file is expected to go to the DPP in the next two weeks.

Mr Dwyer was remanded in custody to appear on Dec 18 for directions in relation to the charge.

Defence solicitor Jonathan Dunphy asked for an indication as to what stage the case is at. Det Sgt Woods said the book of evidence was at an advanced stage.

The judge asked Mr Dwyer if he understood the proceedings and that he was to appear before the court again in four weeks, to which he replied: “Yes.”

Judge Malone asked Mr Dunphy if he received his section 56 order, which relates to obtaining copies of videos of interviews, to which the solicitor replied: “I have”.

The case resumed after lunch when Mr Dwyer came into the courtroom for the ruling on free legal aid.

There was no objection to legal aid. The judge had been furnished with a statement of his means and, when asked to confirm it, Mr Dwyer replied: “That is correct.”

Judge Malone heard Mr Dwyer is no longer on a salary, and a mortgage on his home was in arrears.

She was satisfied that his means were insufficient for him to fund his case, and said it was appropriate that he would be granted legal aid.

Mr Dwyer confirmed that he wanted Mr Dunphy to continue to represent him.

Ms O’Hara, from Killiney, in Dublin, who also had a part-time job in a newsagents, was last seen at around 6.15pm on Aug 22, 2012, near Shanganagh cemetery in south Dublin, where her mother is buried.

Her remains were found in undergrowth by a woman walking her dog on Sept 13 on Killakee mountain, Rathfarnham. A bag containing several items belonging to her were found near Roundwood, Co Wicklow, at different times in the days before and after the discovery of her body.

The opening of an inquest into her death heard that no cause of death has been established and the inquest has been adjourned until the outcome of criminal proceedings.

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