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Barrister accused of murder to be given copies of garda interview videos

The State objected to Diarmuid Phelan receiving the videos at this stage in the proceedings.

A JUDGE HAS ordered gardaí to hand over copies of interview videos to a senior barrister accused of murdering a man in a shooting on farmland in Dublin.

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

After the shooting of his dog, 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 rushed to Tallaght University Hospital but passed away two days later.

The High Court refused Phelan bail in March, but the Court of Appeal overturned that decision earlier this month. He has taken up €100,000 bail, and his case was listed for mention at Dublin District Court today.

He came to the courthouse but did not address the proceedings.

Judge Bryan Smyth heard the defence sought an order under section 56 of the Criminal Justice Act 2007 for copies of the recordings from his interviews when he was held for three days’ questioning in February.

The State objected to that happening at this stage in the proceedings.

Detective Garda Michael McGrath said the order was normally made when the book of evidence has been completed and served on an accused.

Detective Garda McGrath said the full investigation file would be with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) by the end of May or early June. However, neither the DPP nor the directing officer has seen the file yet.

In those circumstances, the detective added it was “extremely premature” for the defence to seek the interview videos.

He said that Phelan was interviewed several times with a solicitor present.

Defence counsel Karl Monaghan submitted that this did not militate against the application.

Judge Smyth said while it seemed unusual to make the section 56 order at this stage, it was in the legislation. He granted the order but said gardai needed “reasonable time” and must comply by 9 May.

He adjourned the case until 18 July for the DPP’s directions to be obtained.

Phelan has to obey a 10pm to 8am curfew at a garda-approved address, sign on daily at a garda station, and be contactable by mobile phone.

The bail terms set in the Court of Appeal earlier this month stated he had to give gardaí access to all his Irish and foreign bank accounts.

He must stay out of Tallaght and out of his properties in Wexford and have no contact with prosecution witnesses in the case.

He was also told to surrender his passport, not leave the State, join a gun club, or purchase any firearms.

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.

Phelan claimed he was under various threats at the farm.