State applies to have Joe O’Reilly appeal dismissed

O’Reilly seeks to have conviction for wife’s murder declared miscarriage of justice

In July 2007 Joe O’Reilly was  sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his wife at their home in the Naul, Co Dublin. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

In July 2007 Joe O’Reilly was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his wife at their home in the Naul, Co Dublin. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

 

The State is to bring an application to dismiss an appeal brought by Joe O’Reilly to have his conviction for murdering his wife declared a miscarriage of justice.

In July 2007 Joe O’Reilly was convicted by a Central Criminal Court jury and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his wife at their home in the Naul, Co Dublin.

This month marks the 10-year anniversary of the discovery of the badly beaten body of Rachel O’Reilly (30), who was found in the bedroom of her home on October 4th, 2004.

Mr O’Reilly (41), has lodged an application under Section 2 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1993 to have his conviction declared a miscarriage of justice.

The court previously heard a number of issues were raised in the grounds of appeal, including circumstances where the book of evidence was left in the jury room at the 2007 trial.

The case was temporarily struck from the Court of Criminal Appeal case management list in March 2013, as the matter was not ready to proceed.

Counsel for the applicant, Ronan Munro BL, this morning told the appeal court that two affidavits had been prepared, one of which set out the various steps that been taken since the order to strike the case from the list was made.

He agreed with Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman that he wanted to have the case reinstated on the list, and said he understood there was no objection from the State.

Counsel for the State, Elva Duffy BL, told the court the State would be bringing an application to dismiss the appeal, but said the matter should remain on the case management list until this motion was heard. She said it was appropriate that the State’s motion be heard first.

Mr Munro told the court he would also be seeking “interlocutory relief” regarding an application to inspect the court file from the Central Criminal Court. However, he said this may be a matter more appropriate for the Central Criminal Court to deal with.

Mr Justice Hardiman said the State is to serve its motion within three weeks and the case would be entered on the case management list for the new Court of Appeal, the establishment of which is imminent.

He told Mr Munro he may bring the interlocutory application to the appeal court, or alternatively the Central Criminal Court.

Mr O’Reilly was not present in court for today’s hearing but the parents of Rachel O’Reilly were in attendance.

Mr O’Reilly lost an appeal against his conviction in 2009, while in August 2012 he failed in a subsequent attempt to have his conviction quashed after arguing his detention in the Midlands Prison was unlawful.

In November 2012, Mr O’Reilly was granted legal aid in his bid to have his conviction declared a miscarriage of justice after the State lodged no objection.

Section 2 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1993 states that a person who remains convicted after appeal may apply to the court to have their conviction quashed based on alleged new or newly discovered facts that show a miscarriage of justice occurred.