A man convicted of murder almost 40 years ago has had his sentence overturned by the Court of Criminal Appeal in Dublin.
Martin Conmey, of Porterstown Lane, Ratoath, Co Meath, had been convicted of the manslaughter of Una Lynskey whose boby was discovered in the Dublin mountains, in late 1971. The 59-year-old Meath man has always maintained his innocence.
Yesterday the three judge appeal court quashed his conviction as unsafe after “newly discovered” facts showed there may have been a miscarriage of justice in his case.
Una Lynsky (19) worked as a civil servant and vanished while she was returning home from work on the evening of October 12th, 1971.
The court found conflicting statements taken by police from certain witnesses. Mr Conmey's defense team argued that the original statements proved he was innocent.
Both Mr Conmey and Dick Donnelly were convicted of her manslaughter in 1972. Another man, Martin Kerrigan was also suspected of being involved in the teenagers death. However he was abducted and killed a short time after the victims body was found.
At the time Mr Donnelly won his appeal against the 1973 conviction, however Mr Conmey was unsuccessful and served a three-year sentence for the manslaughter.
Mr Conmey once again appealed his conviction under Section 2 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1993, allowing the appeal to be brought forward based on newly discovered facts. His lawyers intend to seek a formal declaration there was a miscarriage of justice in the case.
The court which comprised Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman, presiding, sitting with Mr Justice Declan Budd and Mr Justice Eamon de Valera found that original witness statements were not disclosed to the defense from the outset.
Police involved in the case took witness statements from three men and then took further statements in the days proceeding this. However the court heard that these documents were different from the originals.
In the initial witness statements, the witnesses could not place Mr Conmey or a vehicle owned by Mr Donnelly on Porterstown Lane during the time frame within Ms Lynskey was last seen.
One of the witnesses Sean Reilly, claimed that he was kept at a police station for five hours and was subjected to abuse and assault prior to making his second statement.