High Court to rule on Graham Dwyer phone data appeal in October

Appeals by Denis O’Brien and Angela Kerins also likely to loom large in next law term

The High Court is due to rule  in October on Graham Dwyer’s bid to overturn a law permitting the use of personal mobile phone data during his trial for the murder of childcare worker Elaine O’Hara.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

The High Court is due to rule in October on Graham Dwyer’s bid to overturn a law permitting the use of personal mobile phone data during his trial for the murder of childcare worker Elaine O’Hara. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

 

Convicted murderer Graham Dwyer is one of those awaiting key judgments as the new law term opens this week.

The High Court is due to rule later in October on Dwyer’s bid to overturn a law permitting the use of personal mobile phone data during his trial for the murder of childcare worker Elaine O’Hara.

The outcome of his judicial review is likely to affect preparations for Dwyer’s forthcoming appeal against his conviction.

The Supreme Court is also expected to give judgments this term on separate appeals by businessman Denis O’Brien and former Rehab CEO Angela Kerins, both raising important issues about the powers of the courts to intervene with statements by members of the Oireachtas or its committees.

A win for either Ms Kerins or Mr O’Brien would adversely impact on the conduct of the business of the Houses of the Oireachtas and its committees.

In the Central Criminal Court, Stephen Harnett, who previously pleaded guilty to attempted murder of his four children in Wicklow, is due to be sentenced on October 8th.

The following month, Patrick Nevin, a father of two, with a most recent address at Meadowlands Court, Mounttown, Dun Laoghaire, will be sentenced for the rape of one woman, and the sexual assault of another, after he met both on Tinder.

Brexit

In the High and Supreme Courts, Brexit, already a live issue, is expected to loom larger as March 2019 approaches.

The Supreme Court earlier this year raised questions about the potential impact of Brexit on future extraditions of Irish and other citizens to the UK.

It has asked the Court of Justice of the EU to decide several issues concerning whether an EU state is required to refuse to surrender an EU citizen to the UK if that citizen will remain imprisoned there after the UK leaves the EU in March 2019.

The issues were raised by lawyers for Thomas Joseph O’Connor (51), a construction company director, with an address at Cloughbeirne, The Walk, Roscommon, who is wanted in connection with a Stg£5 million tax fraud in the UK.

About 20 cases here will be affected by the CJEU decision which could also affect the UK’s efforts to extradite citizens from other EU member states.

In the High Court, Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly will this term determine the impact of a CJEU decision on a request for the extradition of a Polish man from here. The judge had earlier this year referred issues in Artur Celmer’s case to the European court due to her concerns about the impact of “immense” changes to Poland’s judicial system.

This term will also see the Supreme Court hearing an unprecedented appeal by Facebook over the High Court’s decision to refer key issues to the CJEU concerning the validity of EU-US data transfers.

Planning cases feature strongly in both the High and Supreme Court lists and an important appeal concerning An Bord Pleanála’s approval for the first phase of a €850 million data centre for tech giant Apple in Co Galway will open on October 22nd.

Although Apple announced last July it is not proceeding with the Athenry centre, the Supreme Court agreed to hear issues concerning the Board’s obligations under EU law when assessing such projects.

Also this month, the Supreme Court will hear an appeal in the long running dispute over whether the conviction of the late Catherine Nevin for the murder of her husband Tom can be used as part of efforts by his family to disinherit her from his will. The defence of the action is being continued on behalf of the beneficiary of Ms Nevin’s will.

High Court

In the High Court, much interest is expected to focus on repossession, insolvency and housing rights cases as well as various cases taken over cervical smears.

Preparations are also continuing for the case by some members of Sean Quinn’s family denying liability for loans of €2.34 billion advanced to Quinn companies by Anglo Irish Bank.

The Court of Appeal is still managing a backlog of Supreme Court appeals, now reduced to about 300. The combination of the inherited backlog and the rising number of new appeals means the average waiting time for an appeal is about 20 months.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is involved in two important appeals before the COA in November challenging the refusal of the Minister for Justice of applications for family reunification from persons granted refugee status.