The Supreme Court has ruled that the seizure of Patrick Quirke’s computer was unlawful, which raises a question mark over his murder conviction.
In 2019, the 53-year-old farmer from Breanshamore in West Tipperary was found guilty of murdering local DJ Bobby ‘Mr. Moonlight’ Ryan.
Due to the invalidity of a warrant, the Supreme Court has today decided that the investigation team had no right to seize his computer during a search of his home.
Internet searches for body decomposition and DNA were found on his computer and put to the jury at his trial.
Shane Phelan from the Irish Independent says the warrant did not specify examining the contents of the computer.
“It would have been okay for the Guards on the basis of the warrant they used for example to take the computer and examine it for fingerprints or examine the outside of it but once you go into what’s on the computer then you’re into a different issue altogether.
“The Judge said that the seizure for entry into the digital space involved the automatic loss of privacy rights on a vast scale.”
The case will be mentioned again later this month ahead of a hearing to decide what consequences flow from today’s decision in relation to Quirke’s conviction for murder.