Law professor charged with murder refused bail by High Court

Dr Diarmuid Rossa Phelan was deemed a likely flight risk with the “means to evade justice”

Associate Professor of Law Dr Diarmuid Rossa Phelan has been refused bail by the High Court on the grounds that he has a “powerful incentive” to evade justice.

Judge Deidre Murphy said that the accused was a flight risk with the “means to evade justice.”

Phelan, 53, has been charged with the murder of Keith Conlon, 36, who died in hospital two days after a shooting incident on a farmland in Tallaght on 22 February.

Phelan’s defence counsel, Michael O’Higgins SC, last week submitted a request for bail to the court, arguing that his client’s life will be “completely and utterly ruined” and his “life’s work wiped out” were he not granted bail. O’Higgins claimed that the trial date could be up to three years away.

The request claimed that Phelan is a law-abiding citizen with no history of fleeing from justice and noted that his family, assets, and job were all in Ireland. Mr O’Higgins also argued that Phelan’s expertise in law gave him a greater understanding of the conditions of his bail than “99.9% of the population.”

The request was objected to by Detective Garda Mick McGrath, who claimed that the accused was a likely flight risk and may not turn up for his murder trial.

It was alleged by Det. McGrath that Phelan has had altercations over land and trespassing in the past, and that it was likely that “a similar type of offending could occur”.

Ms Justice Murphy delivered the court’s refusal of Phelan’s request for bail yesterday (March 21). Phelan, who is a Fellow of Trinity and a member of the College Board, will now remain in custody until his trial date.

David Wolfe

David Wolfe is a Junior Sophister student of History and Political Science. He is the current Social Media and Managing Editor of Trinity News, having previously served as News Editor, Assistant News Editor and copyeditor.