I thought Dwyer would walk free, says State Pathologist
THE State Pathologist Marie Cassidy has expressed surprise at the jury's guilty verdict in the Graham Dywer murder trial, based on the lack of pathological evidence.
Professor Cassidy described the case as "fascinating" when she was asked her medical opinion of the two-month trial that gripped the nation.
Dwyer was caged for life for the sexually-motivated murder of childcare worker Elaine O'Hara.
The State Pathologist recalled examining Ms O'Hara's remains along with her other colleagues.
"We knew there was no pathology evidence to support anything so it came to what other evidence did they have, and it's up to them to make a case and to present this case, and if they think the case is going to stand up in court, then the DPP will go ahead with it.
"In that case, I thought no. They will not go ahead with it... And then when we were waiting for the verdict coming in I said, it has to be not guilty," she said.
During the trial prosecutors gave detailed accounts of text message exchanges between Dwyer and Ms O'Hara, with the evidence forming the backbone of the case.
Texts were sent on phones found in Vartry Reservoir in late 2013. Each had only the phone number of the other phone saved in its contacts: SLV and MSTR. The prosecution referred to them as the 'Master' phone and 'Slave' phones and said they were used by Dwyer and Ms O'Hara.
In one text shortly before his victim went missing Dwyer used the Master phone to say: "Its up to me and you have a big punishment coming up, knife in the guts."
He added that she would be bound, gagged and tied to a tree deep in the forest.
"I found a really, really remote place no one will find us," he said.
Ms O'Hara's skeletal remains were found in a forest at Kilakee on September 10, 2013 after being found by a dog walker.
The married architect was found guilty by a unanimous jury of stabbing Ms O'Hara to death for his own sexual gratification.
He received a mandatory life sentence.
Dwyer has since initiated an appeal against his conviction.
Prof Cassidy made her remarks yesterday after a presentation to staff and medical students at the Post Graduate Centre at University Hospital Limerick.
During her presentation Prof Cassidy welcomed defence autopsies, where a second post mortem is carried out by another forensic pathologist.
"One of the most useful things - and probably keeping us in check and making sure that things are done properly - is the defence autopsy. In most cases now, where there has been a homicide or a murder there will be a second autopsy carried out by another forensic pathologist. Safeguards and checks are a marvellous thing," she said.
"People are looking for two very different things.
"If you have a defence autopsy it means then that you've got someone coming in and checking to make sure you have got the facts right and then also reviewing our opinion and saying: 'Is that a fair enough thing to say?'.
"And that is a great thing to be doing and I welcome it," she added.