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Thursday 14 November 2019

Murderer Quirke's appeal a year away

Pat Quirke
Pat Quirke

Farmer Pat Quirke's appeal against his conviction for the murder of love rival Bobby Ryan is expected to be heard by the end of next year.

The Herald understands a date for the hearing is likely to be set this December when the Court of Appeal next deals with a list to fix dates.

The appeal will mainly centre on the handling of Quirke's trial by Ms Justice Eileen Creedon. He was convicted of murder last May 1 after a majority jury verdict of 10-2.

He lodged a notice of intention to appeal later that month. Although Quirke (50) has yet to file his grounds of appeal, the matter is considered pending and live.

Affair

Once grounds of appeal are filed, the three-judge court will set about ordering transcripts from the original trial, which, at 15 weeks, was the longest murder trial in the history of the State.

Quirke, of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary, denied any involvement in the murder of Mr Ryan (52), a quarry worker and part-time DJ known as Mr Moonlight.

The prosecution alleged he murdered his victim and hid the body in an underground tank so he could rekindle an affair with widow Mary Lowry, who was in a relationship with Mr Ryan.

Throughout the case, concerns were raised by the defence over the late dis- closure of evidence and the garda investigation.

Requests to discharge the jury over these issues were rejected by the trial judge.

Ms Justice Creed-on also rejected an application for a direction to the jury to acquit Quirke on the grounds the evidence against him was speculative.

The defence claimed its position was harmed when, during her charge to the jury, the judge made comments to the effect the prosecution did not have to prove the location of Mr Ryan's death.

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