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Jury in Graham Dwyer trial begin deliberating verdict

The judge said earlier that if there is a reasonable possibility of suicide then they must acquit.

Graham Dwyer
Graham Dwyer
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THE JURY IN the Graham Dwyer murder trial have begun their deliberations after 42 days of hearing evidence.

Justice Tony Hunt concluded in giving his instructions to the jury after lunch time today. The jury left the court room at 3.30pm to begin its deliberations.

“The one thing that you can say with certainty is that two people met that day, one person came home, the other didn’t,” said Judge Hunt.

“Where did they go, how did they go, what did they do when they got there. How did the stuff end up in the reservoir?”

Judge Hunt said the text messages in the last few hours on 22 August 2012 zero in on the end game, he said.

Three hours in question

What it comes down to in these 40 odd days is it all boils down to your view of three hours,” said Judge Hunt. He said that they must ask themselves the question if the prosecution has provided enough evidence to bring them down to the beach that day.

He said the prosecution have to bring Mr Graham Dwyer and Ms Elaine O’Hara together that day, pointing out to the jury the phone and cell analysis should help them with that matter. He said it was up to them to determine what happened after that.

Earlier today, the judge told the jury that it is up to them alone what evidence they should accept or reject.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt had already told the jury that they have to leave “sentiment and emotion” aside when reaching the verdict.

Discussing the possibility of suicide, the judge told the jury that if there is a reasonable possibility of suicide then they had to acquit the accused. “It’s as simple as that,” he said.

Graham Dwyer, a 42-year-old architect from Foxrock in Dublin, is charged with the murder of Elaine O’Hara on 22 August 2012. He denies the charges.

Suicide

Judge Hunt said that the question of suicide is one that has to be considered. He said the prosecution and defence clashed on the matter.

The judge said he was going to throw in his “six pence worth” and said that both sides might be correct. He asked the jury to draw upon their own experience with suicide and come to their own conclusion on the state someone is in, although he said that could prove difficult as often times there is no reason to give as to why someone would take their own life.

“You make up your own mind on that and apply your own knowledge of life…”.

The judge said that suicidal thoughts were there for Ms O’Hara and clearly there very close to the end, but he said that it was up to the jury to decide if it was a factor in her death.

The judge dealt with evidence from Ms O’Hara’s doctors as well as a friend of Ms O’Hara, Ms Elaine Twomey who said she had known her for almost ten years.

She said Ms O’Hara told her that she met men on the internet and also said she liked being tied up and also spoke of getting cut with a knife.

She said that she was shocked with such an admittance and said she had no interest in those sort of websites. She said she also told her one day that she had a miscarriage in 2012.

Ms Twomey also spoke about how Ms O’Hara became too needy with her where she was getting up to six phone calls and texts per day. She said she wanted to put some distance between them and deleted her number.

Addressing the jury, Judge Hunt said that once he concluded his instructions and they go through the door to the jury room, “it is all down to you”.

He told them that once they retire to deliberate they can decide their hours, within reason, as a result produced on “exhaustion is not legally sound”.

Graham Dwyer case Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

He referred to how he had used Elaine O’Hara’s Christian name yesterday and said he would attempt to remedy that today. He pointed out that it was a slip on his part as he was reading transcripts from the evidence and said that it was not to “attribute any feeling”.

Instructions

Judge Hunt first reminded the jury of the evidence by Ms Sheila Hawkins, the partner of Mr Frank O’Hara, Ms O’Hara’s father.

He reminded the jury that she had called Ms O’Hara a very conflicted girl with the emotional development of a 15-year-old. As a psychologist she said she had an interest in Ms O’Hara’s development but said she was not her clinician and would often distance herself from discussions with Ms O’Hara in that regard.

He also pointed out that in her evidence she said that she had come across a latex suit in Ms O’Hara’s apartment when she and Ms O’Hara’s father initially searched her apartment after her disappearance.

The judge also recapped the evidence of retired Detective Garda Ultan Sherlock who had carried out a “cursory search” of Ms O’Hara’s apartment.

He said this evidence was raised as an issue by the defence who, the judge said, argued that the approach was indicative of the prosecution and gardai having ascribed it as suicide and left it as that.

Graham Dwyer case Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

The judge said that it is the defence’s case that the gardai “were trying to wash their hands” of the idea of suicide thereafter, but he said that was a matter for the jury to consider. 

Garda Sherlock said that he found two heavy chains and a rope in Ms O’Hara’s apartment which did strike him as unusual.

“Mr Farrell said you should be cautious about subsequent conclusions reached,” Mr Hunt continued.

State Pathologist

The judge also said that it was important he remind them of State Pathologist Michael Curtis. He said that Mr Remy Farrell for the defence pointed to the absence of any impact marks that he suggests would occur in the course of frenzied attack.

The judge said that the defence thinks this “should give you pause for thought and give you reasonable doubt about the causation of death”.

He said he wanted to make sure that this evidence was in the forefront of the jurors’ minds.

He read through the transcript which stated that just 60-65% of the body was recovered from Kilakee mountain. Items missing include the skull, the hands, and both forearms. Dr Curtis said the cause of death could not be medically determined.

While being cross examined, the defence asked whether it was unusual that there would be no markings on the bones in an event of stabbing. Dr Curtis said not if there was stabbing in the abdomen and in other incidences where the knife could have gone through the ribs.

While he said that markings were anecdotally less common, they were by no means rare.

Gardaí

Speaking about the gardaí investigation in to the case, the judge said “they’re supposed to be open-minded.”

“They are supposed to take in everything that might be evidence.”

He reminded the jury that a number of times he had to push gardaí who gave evidence to the trial to “just answer” questions from Mr Farrell. “That’s up to you to reflect on,” he said.

The evidence of the spade is another important issue, said the judge.

He told the jury to deal with the spade with presumption of innocence, meaning they must first treat the spade found up side of mountain “as if it has nothing to do with Graham Dwyer”.

He said while evidence provided by Mr Dwyer’s wife, Gemma Dwyer, states otherwise, he said, as she is relying specifically on the label of the spade and the splatterings of paint to identify the spade.

He pointed out that these are “mass produced items… there are more than two,” he said, questioning whether the jury could presume beyond reasonable doubt that the spades were the same or not. 

“You have to be very, very careful about saying you are satisfied,” he said.

Commenting on the evidence, he said that it is up to the jury to decide on the matter.
He commented that when Mrs Dwyer gave evidence that it was her spade that was found up the mountain, the jury must have gone home thinking “game, set and match”.

However the next day the forensic scientist said that yes, they are similar, but did not conclude they were the same.

“At the end of day she said they are similar, but not the same,” he said, asking them if they could conclude beyond reasonable doubt that it is a “guilty item”.

“Be very, very careful of the forensic evidence… they can be similar but that is not enough.”

Mr Justice Hunt also raised the issue a Buck Special 119 knife delivered to Mr Dwyer’s office, marked private and confidential by order of the customer, the court heard.

“It is odd,” said Judge Hunt. He said research about the knife was carried out on Ms O’Hara’s laptop and the knife was sent on to the architect’s office.

The judge said it was an oddity as Mr Dwyer doesn’t go hunting, the court was told it was not required for architect’s work and it was not used for his model airplanes. He said that even if you took the most innocent view the jury had to ask why the knife was left in the basement of his work in a dormant file for up to 18 months.

“Why a man so strapped for cash would spend 100 quid on a knife when he has no use for it? What’s that about? I don’t know, you’ll have to determine that,” said Judge Hunt.

The bag that Mr Dwyer is seen leaving with from Ms O’Hara’s apartment “and what comes out of the Vartry … that is a matter for you,” said the judge.

The judge also gave instruction to the jury in relation to the garda interviews with Mr Dwyer. He said the jury should bare in mind they are not sworn interviews and that things are sometimes said in police stations that are “true, half true or completely not true”.

Interviews

He said that people lie in police interviews for a variety of reasons.

He pointed out that Mr Farrell doesn’t stand over the interviews as perfect truths.

The judge pointed out to the jury that the “shock and horror” Mr Dwyer put forward during the interview could not be from the content of the messages being read aloud to him, if the jury are of the belief that the phones are attributed to Mr Dwyer.

The judge said the shock and horror are only from the matters “coming from deep under water after 13 months”.

One issue that the judge wanted to mention was the leaking of information to media at the time of the arrest of Mr Dwyer.

Judge Hunt said that when someone is arrested they are presumed innocent. He said it should not be the case where there should be a big sign over the police station saying ‘architect Graham Dwyer is in here’.

He said that kind of “playing footsy” with the media will have to stop, stating that one of these days it is going to impact on a case.

The judge said that if the jury felt the prosecution had come up short on the evidence they had an obligation is to acquit Mr Dwyer.

Before leaving to deliberate their verdict, he said he wanted all members of the jury to participate. He said it was important they have their own view.

Verdict

He said that only a unanimous verdict is acceptable. The jury asked to see some exhibits again, such as an overview of phone contacts. The also asked for some maps of the cell connections to be blown up to a larger scale.

Before retiring for the day the jury foreman asked the judge what they had to convict the defendant of. The judge clarified the charge on the form sheet was murder.

The jury will continue their deliberations tomorrow morning.

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