herald

Monday 5 December 2016

Killer who lured teen to his death by pretending to be a girl has appeal thrown out

A picture of murder victim David Byrne held outside court after Marcus Kirwan was found guilty of murdering him.
A picture of murder victim David Byrne held outside court after Marcus Kirwan was found guilty of murdering him.

A TEENAGER jailed for life two years ago after luring another youth to his death by pretending to be a girl has had his appeal against conviction dismissed.

Marcus Kirwan, of Cooley Road, Drimnagh, who is now 22, had denied murdering David Byrne in Dublin four years ago.

The Central Criminal Court heard Kirwan lured Mr Byrne (19) to a meeting on the night of March 19, 2011, by sending text messages pretending to be a girl.

When Mr Byrne, also from Drimnagh, arrived to meet the girl he was set upon by Kirwan and other youths, who chased him into a dead end at an apartment complex.

punctured

Kirwan then stabbed Mr Byrne nine times, once in his face and eight times in his back. His heart and lungs were punctured and one of the fatal wounds was 20cm deep.

A jury found him guilty after a three-week trial and he was given a mandatory life sentence by Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan on February 4, 2013.

Kirwan moved to appeal his conviction on four main grounds involving an arrest warrant as well as alleged infirmities in the identification process and CCTV evidence.

His barrister, Dominic McGinn, had argued that an arrest warrant issued to a garda superintendent provided no basis for Kirwan's arrest by another garda.

Rejecting this ground, Mr Justice George Birmingham said there was a statutory basis for what had happened and it had been garda practice since "time immemorial".

Further, it was manifestly clear that neither the superintendent nor the detective garda who arrested Kirwan were engaged in a deliberate or conscious violation of his constitutional rights.

Turning to the other grounds of appeal, Mr Justice Birmingham said the identification of Kirwan on CCTV footage by a garda was a correct procedure.

CCTV cameras were "ubiquitous", he said, and used in almost every investigation.

Similarly, he said there was no need to call a software engineer to explain how XRY phone analysis technology operates.

The fact of contact between the phone linked to Kirwan and the phone of the deceased formed circumstantial evidence, the judge said.

Mr Justice Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Alan Mahon and Mr Justice Michael Peart, said all grounds of appeal were rejected and the court dismissed the appeal.

Speaking outside court, Mr Byrne's aunt, Angela Byrne, said the family were "over the moon that justice has prevailed again for us".

"The gardai have always been there for us, we'll be forever in their debt," she said.

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