Ireland’s data retention laws have been labelled ‘extreme‘ by lawyers for convicted murderer Graham Dwyer at an EU hearing.
The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg is considering key legal questions that could have an impact on Dwyer’s bid to overturn his conviction.
The former architect was sentenced to life in prison in 2015, for the murder of Elaine O’Hara. His conviction relied heavily on telephone call and retention data.
Lawyers for the convicted murderer argued that Ireland’s legal regime for mobile phone data used in his conviction was contrary to the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Remy Farrell told the European Court of Justice that the general and indiscriminate retention of private mobile phone data in order to prosecute crimes had been deemed impermissible under the Charter.
Ireland’s Attorney General Paul Gallagher argued that the defence of data privacy would end up as a shield against the detection and investigation of the most serious crimes.
He has argued that the ability of law enforcement agencies to use retained data was essential to upholding the values of justice and the rule of law.
This remained the core responsibility of member states, he said, and the inability of the state to fairly discharge its functions would “corrode public faith in our justice system.”
Legal Affairs Editor at the Irish Independent, Shane Phelan, says both sides have been outlining their stance at the hearing in Luxembourg:
”On Graham Dywer’s side, his council Remy Farrell would have made points in his view Ireland’s data retention laws were extreme and provided very minimal protection against abuse, but on the side of the state, arguments made by the attorney general Paul Gallagher were to the effect that you know, if you did get rid of the data retention regime this would allow serious criminals to put themselves beyond the reach of investigators.”