The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) has joined as a participant in the Supreme Court appeal of Tipperary farmer Patrick Quirke against his conviction for the murder of Bobby Ryan.
Quirke’s appeal, considering two grounds of challenge, over the murder of Mr Ryan, a part-time DJ known as Mr Moonlight, has been fixed for a one-day hearing on October 25th.
When the case came before the court for case management on Thursday, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne, sitting with Ms Justice Iseult O'Malley and Ms Justice Marie Baker agreed that the IHREC could be joined as an "amicus curiae" or friend of the court.
The Commission will now make legal submissions on one of the two issues the court has agreed to consider as part of Quirke's appeal.
There was no opposition from either the DPP or Quirke's lawyers to the Commission's application to be joined.
Ms Justice Dunne, after making directions for the filing of legal submissions by the IHREC said that its inclusion would not add to the length of time it will take to hear the appeal.
The appeal is expected to be heard in one day, the judge said.
Validity of search warrant
Quirke's Supreme Court appeal focuses on the validity of the search warrant used in the murder investigation and the DPP’s discretion in calling expert witness in a trial.
During Thursday's brief hearing Quirke's counsel Bernard Condon SC asked if it would be possible for his client to view the hearing of his appeal via a video link from prison.
An arrangement had been put in place to allow Quirke to view the hearing of appeal when it was before the Court of Appeal.
Ms Justice Dunne said that the court would see what could be done but added that it may not be possible for Quirke to view to appeal.
Quirke (51), from Breanshamore, is serving a life sentence after being found guilty in 2019 of murdering the father of two, known as ‘Mr Moonlight’, at Fawnagowan in Co Tipperary. A jury at the Central Criminal Court convicted him by a majority verdict of 10:2 after a 71-day trial.
He had denied murdering Mr Ryan (52), a part-time DJ going by the name ‘Mr Moonlight’, who went missing on June 3rd, 2011, after leaving his partner Mary Lowry’s house early that morning. His body was found nearly two years later in an underground run-off tank on a farm owned by Ms Lowry, which had been leased by Quirke.
It was the prosecution’s case that Quirke murdered Mr Ryan so he could rekindle an affair with Ms Lowry. It contended that he subsequently “staged” the discovery of Mr Ryan’s body after she tried to terminate his lease.
His appeal, containing 52 grounds, was dismissed by the Court of Appeal in November.