Aoife Phelan murder accused granted free legal aid

THE Portlaoise man accused of murdering 30-year-old Ballyroan au pair Aoife Phelan was granted free legal aid after he appeared before Cloverhill District Court this morning.

A special sitting of Portlaoise District Court previously heard that twenty-four year old murder accused Robert Corbet of Sheffield Cross, Timahoe Road, Portlaoise operated his own haulage business.

However, on hearing that Corbet’s business is in the process of being wound up, Judge Gráinne Malone decided to grant free legal aid to Solicitor Declan Breen.

Corbet is charged with the murder of Aoife Phelan on Thursday, October 25 at Capoley, Portlaoise.

Aoife went missing from Collier’s Lane, Portlaoise at 8.20pm on that same date, sparking widespread searches across county Laois and an intensive Garda investigation, before her body was recovered on Wednesday, November 7 following a planned forensics dig at a sealed-off property on the Timahoe Road.

In reply to being charged by Detective Sergeant John Healy at 11.27pm on Thursday, November 8 at Portlaoise Garda Station, Corbet shook his head and said no.

He appeared before Judge Catherine Staines at Portlaoise District Court the following morning and an order was made that he receive psychiatric treatment in prison.

At today’s short hearing, Gardaí informed Judge Malone that they do not know, at this stage, how long before the book of evidence will be served.

Corbet was remanded in custody for four weeks to appear before Cloverhill District Court again on December 13.


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