Convicted murderer Graham Dwyer's appeal against conviction to be heard today

Convicted murderer Graham Dwyer's appeal against conviction to be heard today

Dwyer, a Cork-born architect with an address at Foxrock in Dublin, is serving a life sentence imposed on him in 2015 for the 2012 murder of childcare worker Elaine O’Hara on August 22, 2012.

Convicted murderer Graham Dwyer is to have his appeal against his conviction heard today following his successful challenge to the legislation used to retain and access his mobile phone data.

It's one of 12 grounds of appeal being advanced by Dwyer, it's reported.

The hearing is expected to last up to two days and Dwyer, who is currently serving his life sentence in the Midlands Prison, is expected to be in court today for the appeal.

Dwyer, a Cork-born architect with an address at Foxrock in Dublin, is serving a life sentence imposed on him in 2015 for the 2012 murder of childcare worker Elaine O’Hara.

Ms O’Hara, aged 36, from Stepaside, Co Dublin, was last seen on August 22, 2012, near Shanganagh Cemetery in south Dublin. Her remains were found in the Dublin mountains a year later.

Mobile phone metadata played a central role in securing Dwyer’s 2015 conviction, as it was used to track his movements and contacts with Ms O'Hara in the lead-up to and aftermath of her disappearance in August 2012.  Recovered text messages revealed a ‘master’ and ‘slave’ relationship between Dwyer and Ms O’Hara before her murder.

Dwyer's trial exposed details of one of the most shocking crimes ever committed in Ireland, with evidence of sadistic practices in which he fantasised about stabbing flesh while sexually aroused. 
Dwyer's trial exposed details of one of the most shocking crimes ever committed in Ireland, with evidence of sadistic practices in which he fantasised about stabbing flesh while sexually aroused. 

Dwyer appealed his conviction and argued that the use of mobile phone metadata at his trial was a breach of EU law. 

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has previously ruled that the indiscriminate retention of mobile phone traffic and location data is a breach of citizens' rights in the EU.

In his action, Dwyer claimed that data gathered from his phone, using the 2011 Communications (Retention of Data) Act, should not have been used at his trial. The Act allowed gardaí to access mobile phone data from service providers who were obliged to retain all data for two years.

The data that gardaí could access showed incoming and outgoing calls and texts and also what mast a phone pinged off at any time. The data could therefore be used to show who a mobile phone was in contact with and the approximate location of the phone at any given time.

Dwyer's lawyers argued the 2011 Act was introduced to give effect to a 2006 EU directive concerning the retention and use of data. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) found in 2014 that the directive was invalid and that position was further strengthened in subsequent rulings by that court in 2016.

The use of the data, Dwyer claimed, was unconstitutional and breached his rights under the EU Charter and the European Convention on Human Rights, including his right to privacy. The Irish High Court ruled in Dwyer's favour but the State appealed that decision and the Supreme Court referred the case to the European Court.

In April this year, the CJEU ruled that Ireland's system of retaining metadata and allowing gardaí to access it breached EU law. The decision gave the green light for Dwyer's appeal against his conviction to go ahead.

Further grounds of appeal including the judge’s refusal to grant a defence application to direct the jury to find Dwyer not guilty as there was no evidence of Ms O’Hara’s cause of death.

Dwyer alleged she had taken her own life.

Its reported the appeal may also focus on submissions by Dwyer’s lawyers that members of the gardaí revealed information to the media while Dwyer was being interviewed.

Also expected to be raised are videos found on a hard drive owned by Dwyer played to the jury of Dwyer involved in sex acts with women, including Ms O’Hara. 

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