| 17.5°C Dublin

Boy B makes 'unusual' bid to get expert report for Ana murder appeal

Close

Anastasia Kriegel was murdered by two boys back in 2018

Anastasia Kriegel was murdered by two boys back in 2018

PA

Anastasia Kriegel was murdered by two boys back in 2018

One of the teenagers found guilty of murdering schoolgirl Ana Kriegel has applied to exceed legal aid limits so he can seek the services of a UK psychologist ahead of an appeal.

The Court of Appeal also heard that Boy B's appeal against his conviction will focus on a refusal to allow the evidence of a clinical psychologist, who said he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after witnessing Ana's assault.

The appeal will also argue that lies he told gardai did not show he was guilty of murder.

James Dwyer SC with Seoirse O Dunlaing BL, for Boy B, said the figure quoted by the new expert was "ordinarily more" than what the Legal Aid Board usually certified.

"It is a very unusual application for an unusual case," said Mr Dwyer.

Guilty

The teenager was unanimously found guilty of murdering the "lonely and vulnerable" schoolgirl last June and was sentenced to 15 years' detention, to be reviewed after eight years.

He and his co-accused Boy A, whose identities cannot be published as they are children, were just 13 years old when they murdered 14-year-old Ana in May 2018.

Boy B lured Ana from her home, knowing that his friend was waiting to attack her in a derelict house in St Catherine's Park in Lucan.

He gave several different versions of events to gardai, but eventually admitted seeing Boy A attacking Ana.

They were unanimously found guilty of murder by a Central Criminal Court jury in June last year. Boy A was also convicted of Ana's aggravated sexual assault.

Boy A was sentenced to life imprisonment with a review after 12 years, and eight years for aggravated sexual assault. No appeal has been lodged on his behalf. Boy B is seeking to appeal his conviction only.

Mr Dwyer told President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham yesterday morning that Boy B's case primarily rested on his interviews to gardai over the course of his two detentions.

A clinical psychologist was obtained by the defence during the trial but the trial judge refused to allow his evidence to go before the jury, argued Mr Dwyer.

Clinical psychologist Dr Colm Humphreys was called by Boy B's defence team in the absence of the jury.

He testified that the boy was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after witnessing the assault and that his lies did not show that he was guilty.

However, Mr Justice Paul McDermott refused to allow Dr Humphreys to give evidence before the jury after the prosecution objected, saying his evidence would make him a 13th juror.

Mr Dwyer said yesterday this ruling formed "the thrust of the appeal" and he wanted another expert from the UK with experience in these matters to view the videos of Boy B's interviews.

Mr Justice Birmingham said it was unusual to attempt to involve an expert after the case had concluded.

"If the trial court's rulings were correct that is the end of the matter. If they were incorrect that would have implications for the verdict and there could be a retrial," said the judge.

Limits

Mr Dwyer said he will have to bring a motion before the three-judge court if the UK expert makes certain conclusions as to how his client's interviews were conducted.

Mr Justice Birmingham said the Legal Aid Board has indicated that it has limits or guidelines and counsel for Boy B was asking for authority to exceed these.

"I don't see any basis for this and I'm dubious as to whether there is a role for the expert at this stage post-conviction," said the judge.

Mr Justice Birmingham asked the lawyer to find an expert who would operate within existing guidelines.

The judge gave Mr Dwyer liberty to renew his application at a later date.