Justice has been done.

I'm on holiday at the moment but, predictably, I'm still checking the news from Ireland every day and as might be expected from this post I've particularly been following the Joe O'Reilly trial.

The verdict today was exactly what I'd expected, and hoped for.

Apparently there is some disquiet about it because of the nature of the evidence (circumstantial rather than physical/forensic). I think this is a misunderstanding of the law. Circumstantial evidence is every bit as valid in building a case against a defendant; it's easier to explain away, but the crucial thing is that the defence has to actually do so (explain it away, I mean) - and Joe O'Reilly's didn't.

The jury has to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt - not beyond any doubt. They have to find that it is reasonable to believe that somebody other than the defendant could have committed the crime. With the evidence that was presented, and with Joe O'Reilly's lack of any explanation of it, combined with the virtually incontrovertible proof that he lied about his whereabouts at the time of the murder, it would really take a stretch beyond "reasonable" to imagine that it wasn't him. "Theoretically possible", sure, but that's not the standard required. If it was, you'd hardly ever get a conviction for anything.

Anyway, I'm sure that now the trial's over we'll start hearing all the details that weren't allowed to be introduced in court and that should seal it for any remaining doubters.

RIP Rachel.

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