herald

Saturday 25 January 2020

Notorious killer Dwyer still not removed from register of architects

Killer Graham Dwyer remains on the architects’ register. Photo: Sunday World
Killer Graham Dwyer remains on the architects’ register. Photo: Sunday World
Elaine O’Hara was murdered. Photo: PA

Convicted murderer Graham Dwyer has been able to remain on the official register of architects, the Herald has learned.

Regulators have yet to consider the withdrawal of his registration - almost five years after his conviction for the horrific murder of childcare worker Elaine O'Hara.

Legal observers believe the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) may have delayed action after Dwyer lodged an appeal against his conviction and took civil proceedings against the State.

Dwyer (47) met 36-year-old O'Hara online and his trial heard he stabbed her to death for his own sexual gratification.

Her remains were found in the Dublin Mountains in 2013.

The RIAI said Cork-born Dwyer's membership of the organisation was automatically revoked when he was found guilty by a jury at the Central Criminal Court in March 2015.

However, the regulatory and support body for architects confirmed Dwyer was still on its register of architects.

By law, only persons on the register can use the title "architect". They can only be removed from the register following an investigation by a professional conduct committee and their removal must be confirmed by the High Court.

The RIAI said it did not comment on cases "that may or may not be under consideration by the professional conduct committee".

Judgment

Dwyer is currently serving a life sentence at the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise and is appealing his murder conviction.

However, the appeal is on hold while a Supreme Court judgment is awaited on the State's appeal of a High Court finding on data-retention laws.

Dwyer is arguing the judge in his murder trial erred by allowing into evidence call data records from his mobile phone and another handset attributed to him. This information played a crucial part in the investigation leading to his conviction.

The High Court ruled in 2018 the legislation under which gardai accessed the records contravened EU law and the European Convention on Human Rights.

The State says the ruling has had adverse consequences for the investigation and prosecution of serious crime.

In a statement, the RIAI said its articles of association at the date of Dwyer's conviction provided that a person convicted of a felony shall by that very fact or act cease to be a member, but this does not mean they are removed from the RIAI register.

The statement said that, on foot of a complaint about a registered architect, the RIAI's professional practice committee may investigate a person's "conduct connected to the profession of architecture in which the individual concerned is alleged to have seriously fallen short" of standards expected.

Where the professional practice committee directs a person's name be removed from the register, confirmation of the decision must be sought from the High Court, the statement said.

The rules of the committee provide that all meetings are held in private and, by law, matters referred to it cannot be made public unless there has been a guilty finding.

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