Man remanded over Phelan murder
A lorry driver accused of the murder of nanny Aoife Phelan in Co Laois last month has been granted free legal aid after a court heard that his haulage business is being wound up.
Robert Corbet (24), of Sheffield Cross, Timahoe Road, Portlaoise, Co Laois had shook his head and said “no” when he was charged last week. He has been accused of murdering the 30-year-old nanny at Capoley, Portlaoise, on October 25th , the date of her disappearance.
Her body was found concealed in a bin buried in a pit on the outskirts of the Co Laois town on November 7th last.
Two days later Mr Corbet, who knew the Ms Phelan, had been remanded in custody following a brief hearing at Portlaoise District Court after which he was heckled. An order was also made that he was to receive psychiatric treatment during his remand in prison.
Mr Corbet appeared today at Cloverhill District Court before Judge Grainne Malone.
At his first court hearing there had been a Garda objection to free legal aid being granted on the grounds that Mr Corbet owns a haulage business.
Today, however, Judge Malone was told that the objection was being dropped. Detective Sergeant John Healy told the judge that “the haulage business is in the process of being wound up”.
Dressed in a black stripped shirt and tie, Mr Corbet spoke briefly during the proceedings yesterday (THUR) saying “Yes that’s correct” when asked if he wanted solicitor Declan Breen to represent him.
Judge Malone also heard that at this stage it was not known how long it will take to complete the book of evidence in the case.
Mr Corbet was granted legal aid and the defence consented to him being further remanded in custody for four weeks. His next hearing will take place at Cloverhill District Court on December 13th.
The lorry driver was first arrested by gardaí on Monday, November 5th in connection with the disappearance of Aoife Phelan who was from Ballyroan in Co Laois.
He was released without charge shortly before midnight on Tuesday, November 6th last.
But after Aoife’s body was discovered following a dig at Timahoe Road the next day, he was re-arrested by Gardaí and subsequently charged.