herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Judges reject O'Reilly's bid to further appeal his murder conviction

Joe O'Reilly Picture: Collins
Joe O'Reilly Picture: Collins
Joe O’Reilly's wife, Rachel, who he was found guilty of murdering at their home in Naul on Ocotber 4, 2004

The Supreme Court has refused to permit Joe O'Reilly a further appeal over his conviction for the murder of his wife, Rachel.

A three-judge court gave its decision in a written determination this week.

O'Reilly had sought leave to challenge the Court of Appeal's dismissal of his miscarriage of justice bid as an "abuse of process" on the basis of that court's finding that it was bound to fail and not grounded on any new, or newly discovered, fact.

O'Reilly was found guilty in 2007 by a jury at the Central Criminal Court of the murder of his wife at their home in Naul, Co Dublin, on October 4, 2004. He was jailed for life.

Rachel's badly beaten body was found in the bedroom of her home by her mother.

O'Reilly later lost an appeal against his conviction and, in May 2015, the Court of Appeal refused his application to have his conviction declared a miscarriage of justice.

Significance

Lawyers for O'Reilly then applied to the Supreme Court for leave to appeal that decision.

Among various arguments, it was contended that the Court of Appeal paid insufficient regard to O'Reilly's argument that he did not sufficiently appreciate at the time of the trial the significance of the book of evidence, or any portion of it, being found in the jury room.

The DPP had argued that O'Reilly was informed of the book of evidence situation on the fourth day of his trial and, acting on advice, instructed his lawyers to proceed with the trial.

It was also contended that matters so well known could not possibly amount to a new fact or a newly discovered fact.

Joe O’Reilly's wife, Rachel, who he was found guilty of murdering at their home in Naul on Ocotber 4, 2004
Joe O’Reilly's wife, Rachel, who he was found guilty of murdering at their home in Naul on Ocotber 4, 2004

The Supreme Court judges said the conclusion of the Court of Appeal judgment was that it was absolutely clear a conscious and deliberate decision was taken by O'Reilly for tactical and strategic reasons to proceed with the trial and his attempt now to resile from that choice amounted to an abuse of process.

The uncontroverted evidence was that no member of the jury had read the book of evidence or any part of it, the court noted.

The issues raised before the Court of Appeal in this application did not raise any new or newly discovered fact showing a miscarriage of justice in relation to his conviction, the court said in its judgement.

Justice

The other issue under consideration was whether there was abuse of process for O'Reilly to initiate an application for a miscarriage of justice certificate when, following advice, he agreed to the procedure adopted on the fourth day of the trial and also agreed to the outcome, which was that the trial would proceed.

The Court of Appeal's refusal of this application did not involve any matter of general public importance and nor had O'Reilly established it was in the interests of justice an appeal be heard by the Supreme Court, the three judges determined.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News