Belfast Telegraph

Judge recalls murder trial jury

The jury in the trial of an architect accused of murdering a childcare worker has finished its first day of deliberations after being told it could not consider a verdict on anything other than murder.

Graham Dwyer, 42, from Kerrymount Close, Foxrock, south Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to the alleged murder of Elaine O'Hara before Ireland's Central Criminal Court.

Ms O'Hara's remains were found in the Dublin Mountains on September 13 2013.

Despite the jury having retired to consider their verdict yesterday, Judge Tony Hunt recalled the seven men and five women this morning to give further directions.

Announcing he had a "nasty surprise" for them, he said he "shifted up the gears too quickly" the previous day by concluding his two-day charge to them, and believed he should direct them further to evidence heard in the nine-week trial.

Judge Hunt told them the issue of consent did not arise in the charge of murder.

The jury was not obliged to convict in this case, but if it was to convict it could only do so if prosecution lawyers had proven beyond reasonable doubt that Dwyer murdered Ms O'Hara by stabbing her with the intention to kill, he said.

It was not being asked to consider any intermediary offence and accidental death was out of the picture, he told them.

"He's guilty of murder or not guilty of murder depending on your view of the facts," he said.

Judge Hunt charged the jury to look at all the evidence, starting with a presumption of innocence, and resolving any reasonable doubt as it went through the case.

Much of his final directions were given to going over Ms O'Hara's medical history, which included borderline personality disorder, self-harm and depression.

The issues were important to both prosecution and defence teams because of the "centrality" of suicidal thoughts in the case, he said.

The innocent view of the case, as put forward by the defence, was that Ms O'Hara committed suicide, he told the jurors.

Judge Hunt told them: "You have to give it as long as it takes."

Ms O'Hara was last seen on the day of her alleged murder, on August 22 2012, walking over a pedestrian railway bridge towards the sea, near Shanganagh cemetery, outside Shankill, south Dublin.


From Belfast Telegraph