Decision due on O'Reilly murder appeal

A man will find out today if his conviction for the murder of his wife is overturned.

A man will find out today if his conviction for the murder of his wife is overturned.

Three judges will rule on 36-year-old Joe O'Reilly's bid for freedom at the Court of Criminal Appeal.

Lawyers for O'Reilly claimed the case against him was insufficient and criticised the culmination of email, telephone and CCTV evidence that led to his life sentence behind bars.

His wife Rachel (aged 30) was bludgeoned to death in the bedroom of the couple's home in The Naul, Co Dublin.

Her body was found by her mother, Rose Callaly, on October 4 2004.

O'Reilly was convicted unanimously by a jury in July 2007 and given the mandatory life sentence.

His legal team originally lodged 11 grounds of appeal against his conviction, but dropped four at his hearing in December.

Patrick Gageby, senior counsel for O'Reilly, claimed the trial judge should have directed the jury to return a not guilty verdict because the evidence was tenuous, the trial unsatisfactory and verdict unsafe.

He argued that emails between O'Reilly and his sister Ann - filled with derogatory remarks about his marriage and his wife - in June 2004 were of no relevance as they did not show his state of mind at the time of his wife's killing as the prosecution claimed.

O'Reilly's barrister also claimed no official proof had been offered that phone operator O2 was a licensed company and he raised concerns over whether mobile phone records - which crucially tracked O'Reilly from his workplace to the Naul and back on the day - had been gleaned lawfully by the state.

But senior counsel for the State rejected each ground of appeal, adding the emails between O'Reilly and his sister showed his true feelings for his wife and, importantly, a motive - that he was planning a new life with his lover, Nikki Pelley.

The judgment will be delivered by The Chief Justice, Mr Justice John L Murray, sitting with Mr Justice Roderick Murphy and Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy.

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