Tipperary farmer Patrick Quirke has lost his appeal against a conviction for the murder of Bobby Ryan in 2011.

The three-judge court of Appeal found there was nothing to cause doubt about the safety of the verdict or the fairness of the trial and it dismissed the appeal on all 52 grounds.

Mr Quirke is serving a life sentence imposed after his conviction in 2019 after a 15-week trial. He had denied any involvement in the murder. Following a three-day hearing in October last year the Court of Appeal issued a 100-page judgment this morning.

The three judges of the appeal court said they were entirely satisfied with the general approach taken by the trial judge in relation to the admissibility of evidence and had "no hesitation" in dismissing that ground of appeal.

The court also rejected the challenge to the evidence of key witness Mary Lowry and said Mr Quirke was "unrealistic" in this ground of appeal.

Presiding judge, Mr Justice George Birmingham said it was not for an accused person to say how the prosecution should present the evidence or to insist that the prosecution should present its case by way of a sanitised version of events.

The court found that a submission by Quirke's lawyers that his relationship with Mary Lowry was irrelevant and prejudicial was "utterly lacking in reality", adding: "This trial was about an allegation that the appellant had murdered someone to whom he was deeply hostile because the individual had ...brought to an end his intimate relationship."

The Court also rejected the ground of appeal related to the validity of the warrant used to search and seize items from Patrick Quirke's home. The court found while the warrant was "sub-optimal" in specifying computers it did not render the warrant invalid. The Court also rejected the grounds of appeal related to the pathology evidence.

The court also rejected the argument that the case should not be put before the jury for consideration because of an absence of hard evidence. The judges found "after careful consideration" that the multiple strands of the circumstantial evidence when taken together "formed a sturdy rope" where this was a case "that a verdict of guilty could properly and safely be returned".

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Judge Birmingham said that while it was not a straightforward case, and could be said to have been quite a finely balanced one, the court was firmly of the view that it was a case properly put before a jury.

In conclusion the three-judge court found that in the course of the appeal hearing it had not heard or read anything to cause it to have doubts about the safety of the verdict or the fairness of the trial and it dismissed the appeal.

Mr Quirke watched the proceedings by video link from Portlaoise prison.

Bobby Ryan went missing in June 2011

The trial in 2019 heard he murdered his love rival Mr Ryan - a DJ known as Mr Moonlight - so he could rekindle an affair with farm owner Mary Lowry.

Bobby Ryan's remains were found in a disused underground tank on Mary Lowry’s farm almost two years after he went missing. He had been in a relationship with Ms Lowry and was last seen alive as he left her home to go to work early on 3 June 2011.

The prosecution said Patrick Quirke staged the discovery of the body as he was about to give up his lease on the farm and feared he would be found out.

Last year, he appealed his conviction on 52 grounds. His lawyers argued that he had been "stigmatised and prejudiced" by irrelevant evidence which was wrongly placed before the jury in his trial.

Defence counsel Bernard Condon told the three-judge Court of Appeal last October that the grounds of appeal could be broadly divided into two themes related to the rules for cases involving circumstantial evidence and an unsatisfactory trial.

Mr Condon said there were many elements of the evidence which had no probative value whatsoever but the trial judge allowed them into the trial. Some of the evidence, which he said amounted to no more than "tittle tattle".

The court rejected the challenge to the evidence of key witness Mary Lowry

The trial judge had "failed to control" many references to depression relating to Patrick Quirke which had stigmatised him. He said other pieces of evidence brought into the trial had allowed "large dollops of prejudice" to be placed on Mr Quirke's head.

He said there was prejudice built into the case along the way and "run with" by the guards. Degrading things were said to him about "money on demand and sex on demand" from Mary Lowry and these ended up as tabloid headlines, he said.

Mr Condon said the trial judge had not applied the rule when admitting evidence that it should be more probative than prejudicial.

He said the prosecution needed no more than a letter to a newspaper agony aunt which Patrick Quirke admitted writing but instead they used a sledgehammer to drive home a point.

Mr Condon said the warrant was defective and the application to secure it from a district court judge was inadequate to allow her to make a proper decision.

On the pathology evidence defence Senior Counsel Lorcan Staines told the court the remains of Bobby Ryan were extracted in "a hasty manner" from a scene that was "compromised".

Bobby Ryan's remains were found in an underground tank on Mary Lowry's farm

Prosecuting lawyers rejected the arguments at the appeal and said evidence about Patrick Quirke's behaviour before and after the disappearance of Bobby Ryan was entirely relevant to establish his motive for murder.

Senior Counsel Michael Bowman said that "context was everything" in cases, including those involving circumstantial evidence. He said the defence was arguing that all of the detail and the descriptive narrative of the life led by Mary Lowry should be taken out of the case. If this was done, they would be left with the meaningless description used by the defence that "unhappy differences" had emerged between Mr Quirke and Ms Lowry.

This would have resulted in a manifest injustice to prosecution case and to Mary Lowry as a witness, Mr Bowman said.

Mr Bowman also argued that what happened after the disappearance of Bobby Ryan was entirely relevant and communicates motive in the first place, Mr Bowman argued, referring to recordings of Mary Lowry with a new partner Flor Cantillon which prosecution said were made by Patrick Quirke. Mr Bowman said these were "like crumbs being left out to follow the mindset".

He said Mr Quirke's motivation was to remove Bobby Ryan and to take his rightful place, as he saw it, as Mary Lowry's lover.

He rejected an argument that motive can only arise up to and until an offence is committed and said behaviour afterwards could strengthen and reinforce the presence of motive, "that which communicates the true nature and extent of the relationship between the parties".