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Supreme Court agrees to hear 'leapfrog appeal' in Graham Dwyer case

The Supreme Court said that the case “raises complex and novel questions of constitutional and EU law”.

THE SUPREME COURT has agreed to hear a “leapfrog” appeal against a High Court ruling in favour of Graham Dwyer which forms part of his bid to overturn his conviction for the murder of childcare worker Elaine O’Hara.

The decision by the Supreme Court to review the High Court case was published last Tuesday; a date for the hearing hasn’t yet been decided.

The State is appealing Mr Justice Tony O’Connor’s decision last month that sections of Ireland’s retention laws concerning information generated by telephones contravene both EU law. That decision was in relation to a case taken by Dwyer against The Garda Commissioner and the Minister for Communications. 

Ireland’s data retention laws provide for an indiscriminate retention regime, the judge said. The State had argued the action had major implications in relation to the authorities’ ability to retain, access, and use information generated by mobile phones in the investigation of serious criminal activities.

The appeal of the High Court decision by the Supreme Court bypasses the Court of Appeal. This is permitted in cases where the appeal is necessary and of significant importance – the Supreme Court decision said these criteria were met.

In seeking leave to appeal directly to this Court, the defendants note that the case raises complex and novel questions of constitutional and EU law, with significant implications that affect many others apart from the parties in the case, and that the nature of the issues raised is such that the case will almost inevitably require to be determined by this Court.

“The Court accepts that the case meets the constitutional criteria for leave to appeal.”