Justice Denied


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From RTÉ’s Prime Time last night

You may recall the independent review panel set up by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald in July 2014, following the publication of the Guerin Report which looked at allegations made by Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe.

The purpose of the panel is to investigate allegations of Garda misconduct, crime and cover-up and to ascertain if further investigations are needed.

Some of the cases involve the deaths of individuals.

Last night, on Prime Time, political correspondent for RTÉ’s Current Affairs Department Katie Hannon presented a report on the work of the panel.

She explained:

320 cases were ultimately accepted for review. 17 months later, 152 families have received a response to their complaints. The Justice Department would not confirm what was in those responses, saying the minister will issue a comprehensive statement when the process is complete. However, we know that, of the first 120 cases reviewed, the panel recommended that no further action was warranted in 105 cases. Just nine cases were referred to GSOC for investigation while the minister sought a report from the Garda Commissioner in six other cases.”

During her report, Ms Hannon also looked closely at six cases – the deaths of Patrick Nugent, 23, who died in February 1984; Adrian Moynihan, aged 23, who died in March 2001; Shane Tuohey, 23, who died in February 2002; Catherine Davis, 35, who died June 2007; John Kelly, 24, who died October 2008; and Shane O’Farrell, 23, who died August 2011.

The families of all these people are not satisfied with the review panel.

In her report, Ms Hannon tried to find out exactly what information the review panel is reviewing.

It wasn’t an easy task, as Ms Hannon discovered.

Ms Hannon explained that, in July 2015, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald had told the Dáil that the panel has access to information from the gardaí and GSOC.

On foot of this, Ms Hannon said, some families contacted GSOC to ask if it had made files pertaining to their cases available to the review panel.

But GSOC responded saying it didn’t because,

The independent review mechanism is a non-statutory mechanism and, as such, it is not entitled to request or receive from GSOC files and documentation relating to complaints made to GSOC.”

In turn, Ms Hannon asked the Justice Department if the panel had the authority to access the Garda files.

The department responded by saying,

The Gardaí fully co-operated with requests for information in connections with the cases referred to the panel.”

Ms Hannon asked again, repeatedly, if the panel had access to the Garda files.

She reported:

A spokesman for the minister declined to say and pressed he would only repeat the Gardaí fully co-operated with requests for information.”

Furthermore, Ms Hannon explained that, also in July 2015, Minister Fitzgerald told the Dáil that the panel had asked for additional information from the families. Ms Fitzgerald told the Dáil that further information was given by families in more than 200 cases.

However, the Justice4All group says it’s not aware that the panel asked any family for further information.

In fact, Ms Hannon reported, the family of Shane Tuohey were turned away when they tried to give the panel further information. The new information was based on CCTV tapes that turned up after the family was originally told they were missing.

The panel told the family,

“The examination of any evidence in the context of a criminal investigation is an operational matter for the Garda Commissioner.

It should also be noted that the panel did not hear any oral evidence.

Watch back in full here

Previously: The Thin Blue Timeline [Updated]

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11 thoughts on “Justice Denied

  1. PaddyJoe

    So the review group didn’t have access to either Garda files or GSOC files and they didn’t talk to the families involved. What exactly have they being doing for the last fourteen months and how much is it costing?

    1. Ultan

      Cha-ching! If you’re not part of the solution, then make a fortune perpetuating the problem. Barristers make a fortune writing reports (cha-ching), that then need to be reviewed (cha-ching), re-written (cha-ching), challenged in the courts (cha-ching), yadda yadda yadda.

      And while the gravy train keeps rolling on, nothing gets done about serious malpractice, perpetuating the system, and keeping the fat cats purring.

      €70M spent on the Morris Tribunal for FA.

  2. SiJu Cat

    Something happens to a loved one. That could ruin your life right there. Knowing that it was not investigated properly or there was failures by the Guard’s would haunt you. Then to have a charade follow up investigation essentially for PR as no investigation is taking place. No one speaks to each other or even has the files is the final insult. Your loved ones death meant nothing to us, your feelings doesn’t matter, our failures don’t matter, our ministers, gardai and civil service don’t care. “Shure aren’t we looking into it again”. All you can do is hope the families find peace and karma rains tragedy on the rest! That’s the only hope of justice you have in this kip.

    1. realPolithicks

      +1. Realistically you can’t have confidence that anything is properly investigated in Ireland.

  3. Bill Maher

    Impressive reporting by Katie Hannon, She was able to highlight the frustrations ordinary people have in this country with the Justice system. It is not just this Government who are to blame. These stories span many decades and involve a number of Governments and Ministers for Justice.
    So who is to blame ? The Gardai ? The Legal profession ? Civil servants in the Department of Justice ?
    It is time for the truth for these families and many others who have been denied justice for many years.
    An Election is not going to change anything the problems with Justice in this country goes far deeper than elected politicians. Politicians will listen and nod their heads in disgust, make promises, and then refer back to their advisors who will do nothing.
    Some Journalists also take advantage of these families. Taking advantage of their stories in order to bring attention to themselves.

    1. monica butler

      the case began with the murder of my son john butler was murderd on the 7th 10th 2002 as a result of the garda investigation cecil lynch and jerry ross were brought before the four courts in dublin to stand trial for my son.s murder as part of the investigation the garda in guarnbraher has a signed statement from thomas morey giving deatails of the murder of my boy and also being involved with the above during the trial in the four courts thomas morey reanted a signed statement sighting a loss of memory with regard to the events the night of my son.s murder this directly resulted in the collapsed trial of ceil lynch and jerry ross my son my husband my family and friends were denied any justice for my son my husband and john.s young friend opt to tak there own lives on in 2004 my husband 2008 frustrated with the lack of justice for his son.s murder and consumed with grief having lost his son took his own life in my opiniion the flippant excuse of citing inability to remember vital evidence needed to convced the above is intolerable it shows a lack of respect for my son who was a young father and a precious life in himself and wsa shot in the chest and left to die on gurranabraher road my granson has very few memories of his dad as he was only 3 years old when he was robbed of his father he is now a 16 years old and we as adults are unable to explain to him that despite the fact that somthing very wrong has done no one has faced legal consequences such as prison they killed my boy over a burger at a take out irish criminal justice ?

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