Justice Minister: Dwyer ruling shows legal framework needs to be modernised

The Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, has said that the High Court judgement in favour of Graham Dwyer will have to be considered very carefully.

Minister Flagan was speaking following this afternoon’s verdict which saw Mr Justice Tony O’Connor rule that Mr Dwyer is entitled to certainly limited declarations concerning provisions of Ireland’s data retention laws.

The legal action taken by Mr Dwyer against the State and the Garda Commissioner is part of his bid to overturn his conviction for the murder of childcare worker Elaine O’Hara.

“This is a very detailed and lengthy judgment in what is a very complex and dynamic area of the law,” said Minister Flanagan.

“The Court’s judgment will have to be considered very carefully in order to identify exactly what actions are necessary and the advice of the Attorney General will have to be taken in that regard.

“It is clear that the current legal framework allowing for access to communications meta-data to combat criminals and terrorists needs to be modernised in light of evolving jurisprudence.”

Minister Flanagan said that the drafting of a new Data Retention Bill is at an advanced stage and is a priority for the Government.

“Many aspects of today’s judgement from the High Court are already referenced in the draft Bill and the Attorney General’s advice will be taken regarding further changes.”

He noted that Mr Dwyer is in separate legal proceedings appealing against his conviction for murder and said that it would not be appropriate for him to make any comment on the case.

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