Murder trial of Trinity law professor to begin this week

Associate professor Diarmuid Phelan is charged with the murder of Keith Conlon in Tallaght in February 2022

The trial of a Trinity law professor and former Board member accused of murdering a man in a shooting at a farm in Dublin will begin this week at the Central Criminal Court.

Associate professor Dr Diarmuid Phelan is charged with the murder of Keith Conlon at Hazelgrove Farm in Tallaght in February 2022.

A jury for the trial will be sworn in before Justice Eileen Creedon tomorrow afternoon. It is expected that the trial will commence on Thursday and last three weeks.

Conlon, a father of four from Kiltalown Park in Tallaght, died in hospital two days after being shot in the head following a verbal altercation with Phelan who owns the farmland where the incident took place.

Who is Diarmuid Phelan?

At the time of his arrest Diarmuid Rossa Phelan was an associate professor in the School of Law, which he first joined in 1994. Educated in Dublin, Phelan received scholarships to UC Berkeley, EUI Florence and Oxford University.

With a focus on European Union law and competition law, Phelan lectured undergraduate and postgraduate students. He was elected as a Trinity Fellow in 2014 and is a former member of Board, the highest authority and governing body of College.

He is admitted to the Bars of New York, England and Wales, and Northern Ireland and is Senior Counsel at the Bar of Ireland.

What happened?

According to the Irish Times, it will be alleged in court that Phelan “deliberately shot” Keith Conlon’s dog with a legally owned rifle “without any forewarning” after he and two other unarmed men entered lands at Hazelgrove Farm.

Following a “verbal altercation”, Phelan then allegedly fired three shots from a licensed revolver, with the final shot “fired directly” at Conlon, hitting him in the back of the head as he turned to run away.

During a bail hearing, the court heard that Phelan told gardaí in interviews that he accepted he shot Mr Conlon with the licensed firearm but believed he was under threat and was “terrified” at the time.

Phelan was the owner of 10 legally held firearms, which have been seized since his arrest.


Phelan’s application for bail was initially rejected by the High Court after he was deemed a significant flight risk.

Bail was later granted by the Court of Appeal on the condition that he reside at an address approved by Gardaí, sign in daily to a Garda station, and abide by a 10pm to 8am curfew, as well as surrendering his US passport. Bail was set at €100,000.

In May 2022 the terms of his bail were relaxed to allow him to take a “short trip” with his family.

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.