Serial murderer fails in European court application over right to a timely trial

Mark Nash denied murders of two women in Grangegorman

Mark Nash said his rights under the European Convention had been breached because of the period of 12 years which elapsed between him first being questioned in respect of the Grangegorman murders, and the decision to formally charge him following the discovery of new evidence. File photograph: Collins Courts

Mark Nash said his rights under the European Convention had been breached because of the period of 12 years which elapsed between him first being questioned in respect of the Grangegorman murders, and the decision to formally charge him following the discovery of new evidence. File photograph: Collins Courts

 

An application from the serial murderer Mark Nash to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg has been thrown out.

In an application to the court by Nash in January 2018, Nash said that his right to a timely trial had been breached as had his entitlement to an effective remedy for this breach given that he had been denied financial damages by the Irish courts.

However in a decision made in March and announced publicly on Thursday, the court said his application was inadmissible.

Nash was found guilty in April 2015 of murdering Sylvia Sheils (55) and Mary Callanan (67), whose mutilated bodies were found in sheltered accommodation in Grangegorman between March 6th and 7th, 1997.

Originally from England but with last addresses at Prussia Street and Clonliffe Road in Dublin, Nash denied the murders.

He was unanimously found guilty by a jury after a 48-day trial at the Central Criminal Court and jailed for life. He was already serving a life sentence at the time for the murder of two people in Roscommon.

The Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal over his conviction for the Grangegorman murders and in November 2018 the Supreme Court denied his application for an appeal to that court.

Nash was also denied damages in a case he took complaining of the timeframe involved in the Grangegorman part of his murder convictions.

In his application to the Strasbourg court, Nash said his rights under the European Convention had been breached because of the period of 12 years which elapsed between him first being questioned in respect of the Grangegorman murders, and the decision to formally charge him following the discovery of new evidence.

The new evidence arose from the availability of enhanced DNA testing but he said the timeframe involved breached his right to a trial within a reasonable time.

He also complained that the failure to award him damages in respect of the delay breached his right to an effective remedy under article 13 of the Convention.

However the European court has now ruled that, because Nash’s application to it was made more than six months after the last Irish decision, it was not admissible.

Because Nash is a British citizen the UK government was invited in September 2018 to make a submission in his case, but it declined to do so.

A committee of the Strasbourg court considered the matter on March 17th last, and came to a decision, which was published on the court’s website on Thursday.