Barrister accused of murder wants to return to his farm, court told

Judge rules that Diarmuid Phelan must return to the Court of Appeal in order to amend bail conditions

A barrister charged with murder must return to the Court of Appeal for permission to return to his farmland, a judge has ruled.

Law professor Diarmuid Phelan (53) is charged with the murder of father-of-four Keith Conlon at Hazelgrove Farm, Kiltalown Lane, Tallaght, on February 22nd.

After his dog was killed, Conlon, from Kiltalown Park in Tallaght, was shot in the back of the head during the incident on Mr Phelan’s farm. The dog breeder was taken to Tallaght University Hospital but died two days later.

The High Court refused bail in March, but the Court of Appeal overturned that decision the following month and released Mr Phelan on a €100,000 bond with a range of conditions.


The case was listed again at Dublin District Court on Monday for directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to be conveyed, a defence application to temporarily lift bail terms for two short holidays, and to remove two of the conditions — a curfew and to stay out of Tallaght and his farm in Wexford.

Garda Sgt Michael McGrath told Judge Bryan Smyth the DPP directed “the matter be dealt with on indictment in the Central Criminal Court” on the single charge before the court. The DPP had also directed no further charges, he said.

The judge ordered the accused, who did not address the court, to appear again on October 3rd to be served with a book of evidence and to be returned for trial.

The judge noted there was no Garda objection and allowed Mr Phelan’s application for “temporary variations” to bail terms to allow two-day breaks later this month. Defence counsel Karl Monaghan explained it was for “two short holidays and short breaks” within the State.

However, the State opposed his request to change other bail conditions.

‘Urgent need’

Mr Monaghan told the judge this application was based on “the urgent need” of his client to return to farmlands in Tallaght and Wexford.

The judge noted from the State that the Court of Appeal had ruled that temporary variations to bail with consent could be dealt with in the District Court. Ms McGowan submitted that substantive contested bail variations, such as changing the curfew and returning to the location of the alleged crime, must return to the Court of Appeal.

The judge noted the transcript of the ruling by Mr Justice George Birmingham, president of the Court of Appeal. He said it stated some bail matters could be dealt with at District Court if there was agreement. However, if the State contested a defence application to vary bail, it should go back to the Court of Appeal.

The judge told the defence the application should go back to the Court of Appeal.

At a previous stage, the bail proceedings heard he shot a dog using his rifle or when the dog owner and his companions remonstrated that he had taken the revolver and fired three shots in their direction.

Mr Phelan claimed he was under various threats at the farm.