herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Wife-killer Joe O'Reilly's latest appeal for freedom is dismissed

COURTS

Joe O'Reilly
Joe O'Reilly

WIFE-killer Joe O'Reilly's bid to have his conviction declared a miscarriage of justice has been dismissed by the Court of Appeal prior to full hearing.

The DPP had sought to dismiss the 42-year-old's application as an "abuse of process" and the three-judge Court of Appeal agreed in a judgment delivered today.

In July 2007, O'Reilly was found guilty by a Central Criminal Court jury and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his wife at their home in the Naul, Co Dublin.

Rachel Callaly's badly beaten body was found in the bedroom of her home by her mother on October 4, 2004 and in the intervening period Joe had appeared as a guest on The Late Show.

Speaking on behalf of the Court of Appeal today, Mr Justice George Birmingham said it was an "unacceptable strategy" to raise the arguments O'Reilly had raised at this point.

His application was based on events that occurred on the third day of his Central Criminal Court trial when a portion of the book of evidence was found in the jury room, the judge said.

ISSUE

It was clear, from the way in which the issue was approached by the trial judge at the time, that O'Reilly was fully informed and fully engaged with what was happening at the time, he said.

Having been so aware and so engaged, to raise the argument now after the trial and after his earlier appeal, was an "unacceptable strategy", Mr Justice Birmingham said.

Accordingly, Mr Justice Birmingham, who sat with President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice Sean Ryan and Mr Justice John Edwards, dismissed the appeal.

As a result, O'Reilly's application will not now proceed to full hearing.

Counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Brendan Grehan SC, had asked the Court of Appeal to dismiss O'Reilly's application as an "abuse of process" because it was not based on any new or newly discovered facts as required under the Act.

O'Reilly previously lost an appeal against conviction in 2009, while in August 2012 he failed in a subsequent attempt to have his conviction quashed after arguing his detention in the Midlands Prison was unlawful.

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