Barry Doyle is serving a life sentence for the murder of Shane Geoghegan
THE man who shot innocent rugby player Shane Geoghegan more than ten years ago has failed in his attempt to have his conviction overturned by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Barry Doyle, 34, who has addresses in Ballinacurra Weston and Portland Row in Dublin was sentenced to life imprisonment more than six years ago after he was convicted, following a retrial, of murdering the 28-year-old in Dooradoyle on November 9, 2008.
During the trial, a jury at the Central Criminal Court heard that Doyle admitted during garda interviews that he shot Mr Geoghegan in a what was a case of mistaken identity.
Doyle, who had been ordered to shoot another man by criminal figure John Dundon, was arrested on February 24, 2009 and taken to Bruff garda station.
He was questioned more than a dozen times over three days and the admissions, the jury heard, were made during his 15th interview.
In previous appeals before the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, lawyers representing the hitman argued the admissions should not have been admitted as evidence during the original trial because they were obtained in a “non-voluntary” manner as a result of threats and inducements and psychological oppression by gardai.
This, they claimed, was because Doyle was promised by gardai that his girlfriend would be released if he admitted his role in the killing.
The Court of Appeal rejected the appeal in 2015 while the Supreme also rejected the appeal in a 6-1 majority decision which was handed down in January 2017.
In a further appeal before the ECHR, lawyers representing Mr Doyle argued his right of access to consult a solicitor was unlawfully restricted while he was being questioned following his arrest.
In its majority judgment, details of which were released this Thursday morning, the ECHR found Mr Doyle’s human rights had not been breached.
“The Court found that very strict scrutiny had to be applied in cases where, as here, there had been no compelling reasons to justify restricting the applicant’s right of access to a lawyer. However, when examining the proceedings as a whole, the Court held that the overall fairness of the trial had not been prejudiced,” stated a press release issued by the Registrar of the Court.
“The Court observed that Mr Doyle had been entitled to and had been granted access to a lawyer after his arrest and prior to being interviewed by police. After that first interview he had been able to request access to his lawyer at any time. However, in accordance with police practice at the time, his lawyer had not been permitted to be physically present during the interviews themselves,” it added.
Six of the seven judges, who heard the appeal, found there had been no violation of Article 6,1 and 3 (c).
“Having assessed the impact of the restriction on access at the pre-trial stage on the overall fairness of the criminal proceedings, the Court concluded that the overall fairness had not been irretrievably prejudiced,” stated the judgment.