MUR­DER TRIAL COULD LAST SEVEN WEEKS

Bray People - - FRONT PAGE - By MARY FOG­A­RTY

THE trial of a Dublin man ac­cused of mur­der­ing a woman whose dis­mem­bered re­mains were found scat­tered across the Wick­low Moun­tains begins to­day ( Wed­nes­day).

Kieran Greene (34) of Moun­tain­view Park, Rath­farn­ham, has pleaded not guilty to the killing of Pa­tri­cia O’Con­nor (61) at the same ad­dress on May 29, 2017.

Three other de­fen­dants are also go­ing on trial, hav­ing pleaded not guilty to im­ped­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Mrs O’Con­nor’s death.

Th­ese de­fen­dants are the daugh­ter of the de­ceased Louise O’Con­nor (41), her ex-part­ner Keith John­ston (43), and their daugh­ter Stephanie O’Con­nor. They are all charged with im­ped­ing the ap­pre­hen­sion or pros­e­cu­tion of Mr Greene, know­ing or be­liev­ing him to have com­mit­ted an ar­restable of­fence.

Mrs O’Con­nor was first re­ported miss­ing on June 1, 2017, and a num­ber of her body parts, in­clud­ing her head and hands, were dis­cov­ered dis­persed in a 30km area across the Wick­low moun­tains later that month.

The trial is ex­pected to last be­tween five and seven weeks at the Cen­tral Crim­i­nal Court.

THE State’s long­est serv­ing pris­oner is still seek­ing two days tem­po­rary re­lease per year, which the Min­is­ter for Jus­tice re­fused for ‘no rea­son’, his lawyers have told the Court of Ap­peal.

English na­tional John Shaw (73) has been in cus­tody in Ire­land since Septem­ber 1976 when he and an­other English man, Ge­of­frey Evans, were ar­rested for the ab­duc­tion, rape, tor­ture and mur­der of El­iz­a­beth Plun­kett (22) in Wick­low and Mary Duffy (24) in Mayo that year.

Shaw and Evans were both given life sentences at the Cen­tral Crim­i­nal Court on Fe­bru­ary 9, 1978.

Evans died in 2012 from an in­fec­tion af­ter spend­ing more than three years in a veg­e­ta­tive state. He had been at the Mater Hos­pi­tal, un­der round-the-clock guard by prison of­fi­cers, at a sig­nif­i­cant cost to the State.

Over the years, Shaw’s case has been the sub­ject of a num­ber of re­views, first by the Sen­tence Re­view Group and sub­se­quently the Pa­role Board.

In April 2016, the Prison Re­view Com­mit­tee noted Shaw was ‘very frus­trated that he has never got a day out of prison in his 38 years in cus­tody… He has no fam­ily in Ire­land and has only re­ceived one fam­ily visit over the course of his sen­tence.’

The fol­low­ing June, a dy­namic risk as­sess­ment of Shaw found him to be at a ‘ high-level risk of re-of­fend­ing’. Ar­eas of par­tic­u­lar con­cern to the as­ses­sors were ‘poor prob­lem solv­ing skills; neg­a­tive emo­tion­al­ity; de­viant sex­ual pref­er­ence; co­op­er­a­tion with su­per­vi­sion; sig­nif­i­cant so­cial in­flu­ences; hos­til­ity to­wards women; gen­eral so­cial re­jec­tion; and lack of con­cern for oth­ers.’

In 2016, the Pa­role Board rec­om­mended Shaw re­main in Ar­bour Hill prison to al­low speedy ac­cess to med­i­cal treat­ment and that he be granted two days of es­corted out­ings per year

How­ever, in a let­ter dated Novem­ber 29, 2016, the Min­is­ter for Jus­tice did not sup­port the rec­om­men­da­tion for two days of es­corted out­ings, which Shaw’s lawyers sub­se­quently chal­lenged in the High Court.

Up­hold­ing the Min­is­ter’s re­fusal, Ms Jus­tice Mary Fa­herty said she was sat­is­fied that Shaw had been af­forded the full panoply of fair pro­ce­dures due to him.

She said the func­tion of the Pa­role Board was to pro­vide an ad­vi­sory role to the Min­is­ter for Jus­tice in the ex­er­cise of the the Min­is­ter’s dis­cre­tion. There was no sug­ges­tion that the Pa­role Board did not abide by the pro­cesses set in place in or­der for it to be in a po­si­tion to as­sist the Min­is­ter in the con­sid­er­a­tion of the man­age­ment of the Shaw’s sen­tence.

She said the op­por­tu­ni­ties af­forded to Shaw to make his case to the Pa­role Board were clear from the process in which he en­gaged. He par­tic­i­pated in two in­ter­views with the two mem­bers of the Pa­role Board who were des­ig­nated to in­ter­view him.

Fur­ther­more, he wrote to the Pa­role Board tak­ing is­sue with what was said to be the in­ter­view­ers’ mis­state­ment of an­swers given by him in the course of the in­ter­view and with their hav­ing raised cer­tain mat­ters which the ap­pli­cant con­tended were out­side of their re­mit, Ms Jus­tice Fa­herty said.

Coun­sel for Shaw, Patrick McGrath SC, asked the Court of Ap­peal yes­ter­day (Tues­day) to quash the Min­is­ter’s re­fusal to grant tem­po­rary re­lease on grounds that no rea­sons were given for the de­ci­sion.

Mr McGrath ac­knowl­edged that the Min­is­ter had dis­cre­tion to refuse grant­ing tem­po­rary re­lease, but the dis­cre­tion must not be ex­er­cised in a way that was ‘ar­bi­trary, capri­cious or un­just’.

He said the Sen­tence Re­view Group, the Pa­role Board and the Prison Re­view Com­mit­tee had all rec­om­mended Shaw be given lim­ited tem­po­rary re­lease but the Min­is­ter did not sup­port the rec­om­men­da­tion. ‘Why? We have no idea,’ coun­sel sub­mit­ted, adding that Shaw had no idea what was re­quired of him to per­suade the Min­is­ter oth­er­wise.

Coun­sel for the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions, Paul Car­roll SC, said it was ‘ bla­tantly ob­vi­ous’ that the Min­is­ter’s re­fusal to grant Shaw tem­po­rary re­lease was based on his ‘con­tin­u­ing high risk of re­of­fend­ing’.

Mr Car­roll said the Min­is­ter’s de­ci­sion had to be read in the con­text of an on­go­ing process. A dy­namic risk as­sess­ment found him to have a high risk of re­of­fend­ing, and that’s why the Min­is­ter de­cided not to go with the rec­om­men­da­tion for lim­ited tem­po­rary re­lease.

Mr Jus­tice Patrick McCarthy, who sat with Ms Jus­tice Iso­bel Kennedy and Mr Jus­tice Séa­mus Noo­nan, said the court would re­serve its judg­ment.

Shaw was not in court for the hear­ing.

A hearse ar­rives at Mil­i­tary Road to col­lect the re­mains of Pa­tri­cia O’Con­nor in June 2017.

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