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Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Murder accused barrister granted bail after Court of Appeal hearing

Diarmuid Rossa Phelan is accused of the murder of Keith Conlon in Tallaght on February 22 last.

A BARRISTER WHO is accused of murdering a father-of-four in a fatal shooting on farmland in Tallaght has been granted bail this evening, after the Court of Appeal overturned the rejection of his bail application by the High Court last month.

Ruling on Diarmuid Rossa Phelan’s bail application this evening, President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham said the accused man enjoys a presumption of innocence and as part of that he enjoys a presumption in favour of bail.

He said Phelan, who is a law lecturer and senior counsel, has ties to the State as a member of the Bar of Ireland and as a person with significant assets in this jurisdiction.

Phelan has never offended and “on the contrary has been a person of good standing in the community”, Mr Justice Birmingham pointed out.

He added that the bail conditions agreed between the parties justified the court’s decision to admit Phelan to bail.

The Associate Professor of Law at Trinity College sought bail in the High Court last month but his application was rejected by Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy on the grounds that he is a serious flight risk.

Phelan appealed the decision by the High Court not to grant him bail to the Court of Appeal on Tuesday and it was adjourned until today.

Last month, Ms Justice Murphy said that the applicant had a “powerful incentive to evade justice” based on the seriousness of the charge, the strength of the evidence, the likely sentence in the event of a conviction and alleged ongoing threats to the accused.

She also said the full extent of Mr Phelan’s assets was not known and the court noted that three different addresses in south Dublin had been submitted by the accused.

However, Phelan successfully appealed the High Court decision today and he was accordingly granted bail by the Court of Appeal on a number of strict conditions.

On Tuesday of this week, the Court of Appeal President Mr Justice Birmingham asked that the applicant provide a comprehensive financial statement to the court setting out his assets, liabilities, all sources of income in recent years and details of any property in and outside the jurisdiction.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Birmingham told Phelan that he left the High Court judge “totally in the dark” in regards to his financial affairs when applying for bail.

Phelan (53), of Kiltalown Lane, Tallaght, Co Dublin is accused of the murder of Keith Conlon (36) at Hazelgrove Farm, Kiltalown Lane, Tallaght, on February 22 last.

Conlon, from Kiltalown Park in Tallaght, was severely injured in the shooting incident and died at Tallaght University Hospital two days later.