One of Irelands, Top Barristers, Charged with Murder?

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POST-mortem and ballistics reports have been sent to the DPP as prosecutors prepare their case against a senior barrister charged with murder, a court heard.

Diarmuid Rossa Phelan (53), a law professor, is accused of killing father-of-four, Keith Conlon in a shooting on farmland in Dublin in February.

The case against him was further adjourned for the directions of the DPP when he appeared in Dublin District Court today. The court also heard Mr Phelan would be seeking a temporary relaxation of his bail terms later this week.

Judge Bryan Smyth remanded him on continuing bail.

Mr Phelan is charged with murdering Mr Conlon at Hazelgrove Farm, Kiltalown Lane, Tallaght, on February 22. Mr Conlon, a dog breeder from Kiltalown Park in Tallaght, was seriously injured in an incident on the land at the foot of the Dublin mountains, and was pronounced dead in hospital two days later.

DPP directions are required in the case and the court heard previously that further charges had been recommended and were under consideration.

Today, Jane McGowan BL, for the prosecution, told Judge Smyth she understood directions would be given soon but asked for an adjournment to September.

Garda Sergeant Michael McGrath said a file had been sent to the DPP and in the last number of weeks, a ballistic report and post mortem report were sent.

Further charges were currently being considered, he said.

Defence solicitor Dara Robinson said he was inviting the court to mark a September adjournment peremptory against the state, meaning that the charge could be struck out if progress was not made by the next date.

He said this was not unreasonable as the case would have been before the courts for more than six months at that stage.

Det Sgt McGrath said gardai were working as quickly as possible and had only recently got the post mortem report.

Judge Smyth said on that basis, he was not disposed to marking the case peremptory and said it was a “serious matter. “

Mr Robinson said he took the court’s point. He asked for the case to be adjourned first to this Thursday for an application for a short-term variation to bail conditions.

The defence would be asking the court to vary “a single matter on a short term basis.”

Ms McGowan said there was consent to this. Mr Phelan, who was in court, would be excused for the bail variation hearing, the judge said.

The case was adjourned to July 28, to be put back again thereafter to September 1, for the DPP’s directions.

Mr Phelan was granted bail at €100,000 subject to “strict” conditions in April. Under the conditions, he is to reside at an approved address, obey a curfew of 10pm to 8am there and sign on daily at a named garda station between 9am and 9pm.

In May, he had his bail terms temporarily relaxed so he could take a “short trip” with his family.

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