First wrote about allegations against Brother John Gibson in 2014.
Trial began last Monday and today he was convicted on all charges.
A long five year process for all those involved. https://t.co/DkpXNyRgyz
— Saoirse McGarrigle (@mcgarrigle1) February 18, 2019
From top: Brother John Gibson in the 1970s; Gibson in today’s Irish Mirror; A tweet last night from Saoirse McGarrigle, who first reported about Gibson in The Wexford Echo
Christian Brother John Gibson was convicted yesterday of sexually assaulting two children in the 1980s at a CBS school in Wexford.
Journalist Saoirse McGarrigle writes:
Last Tuesday Judge Elma Sheahan imposed a blanket ban on all reporting of the trial.
There was no reason given for this application for reporting restrictions on behalf of the DPP.
I called the Irish Mirror lawyer and argued the case for challenging these restrictions and he subsequently contacted lawyers for the Irish Times and Irish Independent.
They made a joint submission on Thursday and yesterday Judge Sheahan lifted the restrictions – meaning we could now name him and use photographs.
Last week we could not report that a trial was even taking place, let alone name the defendant!
The background to this case is that I interviewed a man (now deceased) while working for the Wexford Echo, who told me that he had been abused by Brother Gibson.
He then made a report to gardai and we ran the story that allegations had been made against “A Christian Brother” (no name) and detailed the nature of the claims (ie: that abuse happened after kids were asked to do odd jobs around the school and Gibson would insist on washing them.) The story resonated with others who contacted me and subsequently went to Gardai.
On Monday the trial began – based on three charges, two victims.
The significance of the reporting restrictions was that this story began with local investigative journalism.
At the culmination and conviction yesterday, it needed to be reported in national media. It was a story that needed to be told.
Getting the restrictions overturned yesterday was a huge win for press freedom and of course the victims who deserved publicity of the conviction after a long five year wait from time the story first broke and they made reports.
Previously: Christian Brothers Stories