Conmey manslaughter conviction was a 'miscarriage of justice'

Tuesday 29 July 2014 23.15
Martin Conmey's conviction for manslaughter was quashed in 2010
Martin Conmey's conviction for manslaughter was quashed in 2010

A Co Meath man has said he is delighted after the Court of Criminal Appeal found his conviction for killing his 19-year-old neighbour more than 40 years ago was a miscarriage of justice.

Martin Conmey's conviction for the manslaughter of Una Lynskey in 1971 was quashed by the court in 2010.

This morning the court found that the conviction was a miscarriage of justice.

Mr Conmey, 63, said he was delighted the decision of the court had totally cleared his name. 

He said he had had a very difficult life accused of a crime he was totally innocent of, but he was delighted with today's decision.

Mr Conmey was acquitted of Ms Lynskey's manslaughter, 38 years after he was jailed for three years for the offence.

After stepping off a bus from Dublin, civil servant Ms Lynskey disappeared less than half a mile from her home on Porterstown Lane in Ratoath, Co Meath, on 12 October 1971.

Her body was discovered two months later near Tibradden in the Dublin Mountains in an advanced state of decomposition. The cause of her death has never been determined.

Mr Conmey and his friend Dick Donnelly were convicted of Ms Lynskey's manslaughter in July 1972.

A third man, Martin Kerrigan, who was also suspected of having been involved in Ms Lynskey's death, was abducted and killed by Ms Lynskey's brothers Sean and James and her cousin John Gaughan nine days after her body was discovered.

Mr Donnelly won his appeal against his conviction in 1973, but Mr Conmey's conviction was upheld and he served three years in jail.

The Court of Criminal Appeal overturned this conviction in November 2010 after finding that early statements taken from witnesses Martin Madden and Sean Reilly, which tended to favour Mr Conmey, were not disclosed to the defence.

It found they were radically inconsistent with later statements of the same witnesses and evidence given at the trial.

The court heard that the statements in evidence at the trial placed Mr Conmey and Mr Donnelly on Porterstown Lane during the crucial 15-minute period in which Ms Lynskey disappeared, having stepped off her bus at 6.55pm and started the short walk to her home.

Arising out of the 2010 decision, Mr Conmey sought a declaration that his conviction was a miscarriage of justice.

In its ruling, the CCA said Mr Conmey was convicted on the basis he was involved in a joint enterprise with others.

The CCA said there was no incriminating evidence that Mr Conmey was involved in a joint enterprise.

This was because three original statements of prosecution witnesses were suppressed by a person unknown.

On this narrow basis the CCA found there had been a miscarriage of justice.

Mr Conmey's lawyers will now lodge an application for compensation as a result of the CCA's finding he was a victim of a miscarriage of justice.

Keywords: martin conmey