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Man Charged With Murder Of Ashling Murphy Further Remanded In Custody

The Slovakian national faced his third hearing at Cloverhill District Court today.

A man charged with the murder of teacher Ashling Murphy has been further remanded in custody pending formal directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Jozef Puska, 31, with an address of Lynally Grove, Mucklagh, Co. Offaly, was initially remanded in custody on January 19.

He is accused of killing the 23-year-old primary school teacher who was attacked while out running along the Grand Canal near Tullamore on January 12.

The Slovakian national faced his third hearing at Cloverhill District Court today, having first appeared before Tullamore District Court.

Mr. Puska appeared before Judge Cephas Power via video link.

Dressed in a grey tracksuit, he listened with the help of an interpreter and spoke only to give his name and to say he could see and hear the proceedings.

Court Garda sergeant Olwyn Murphy told Judge Power, "directions are still outstanding".

She explained gardaí sent the investigation file to the State solicitor and the DPP in Dublin on February 18. A four-week remand was sought.

Defence solicitor Eoin Lysaght submitted that the case "is only going one way". He asked the judge to refuse jurisdiction at this stage and adjourn the case for a book of evidence to be completed.

The court sergeant pointed out that there was no time limit, and she asked the judge to adjourn for formal directions from the DPP first and a book of evidence after that.

Judge Power noted the nature of the charge and indicated he would put the case back for four weeks.

However, Mr. Lysaght said his client would only consent to a two-week remand. He also asked for the directions to be expedited, adding that the DPP has been involved “from day one”.

The sergeant said the DPP gave "ordinary directions" on day one, and now formal directions were required.

The judge noted the volume and complexity of the case and remanded Mr. Puska in continuing custody to appear again on March 9.

Detective Sergeant David Scahill gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution at Mr. Puska’s first hearing on January 19.

Detective Sergeant Scahill had said that when asked if he had anything to say in response to the charge, the accused replied: "No".

The High Court only can consider a bail application in a murder case.

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