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Friday 2 December 2016

Rugby star Shane Geoghegan killer loses his conviction appeal

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Barry Doyle
Barry Doyle
Shane Geoghegan

A MAN jailed for life for shooting dead innocent rugby player Shane Geoghegan in a case of mistaken identity has lost his appeal against conviction.

Barry Doyle (29), of Portland Row in Dublin 1, had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Geoghegan in Limerick on November 9 2008.

He was found guilty by a jury at the Central Criminal Court and was given the mandatory life sentence by Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan on February 16, 2012.

The trial court heard that Doyle had admitted during garda interviews that he shot Mr Geoghegan in a case of mistaken identity.

However, a principal ground of Doyle's appeal against conviction in the Court of Appeal was that gardaí induced him into making these admissions.

Dismissing his bid yesterday, President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice Sean Ryan said none of Doyle's 27 grounds of appeal could succeed, his trial was "satisfactory" and his conviction "safe".

In a written judgment, Mr Justice Ryan said it was Doyle's solicitor who approached gardai with an offer that Doyle would say he killed Shane Geoghegan if the gardai agreed to release from custody Ms Victoria Gunnery, Doyle's girlfriend and the mother of his daughter.

Shane Geoghegan.jpg
Shane Geoghegan

It has to be assumed that the offer was made on Doyle's instructions and clearly he had the benefit of legal advice, the judgment stated.

Doyle "knew what he was doing", the judgment stated, and this refuted his argument based on inducement.

The interviews contained references to Doyle's deceased brother, his family, Ms Gunnery, his children, his background and living circumstances in Limerick.

"Some garda comments are colloquial, but there are no threats uttered. Neither is any explicit promise or inducement offered."

Mr Justice Ryan said the gardai endeavoured to get Doyle to engage with them. "They appealed to his sense of sympathy for the Geoghegan family. They actually appealed to his sense of morality."

conditions "They suggested that he could not be proud of the situation in life to which he had sunk as they invited him to see it."

"By this they meant he was eking out a lowlife existence at the beck and call of others" and living in "primitive" conditions "while going to bed at night wearing a bulletproof vest".

"Not only had he descended to this level, as the gardaí put it to him, but he had brought Victoria Gunnery to the point where she was in custody as well as him."

The gardaí were not suggesting that they would release Ms Gunnery, the judgment stated, but that they were "addressing his better nature by inviting him to consider his personal descent into primitive living conditions and involvement in serious crime, bringing death to an innocent man and destruction to his family life".

The gardaí were thus appealing to Doyle's "essential humanity", rather than negotiating to broker a deal, the judgment stated.

Mr Justice Ryan, who sat with Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice John Edwards, dismissed the appeal.

Doyle was returned to prison, where he will serve the remainder of his life sentence.

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