Sunday 25 September 2016

Guerin report 'hurt Shatter's good name'

Tim Healy

Published 24/04/2015 | 02:30

Mr Shatter’s court action is aimed at quashing parts of the Guerin report, which concerns his handling of allegations made by a garda whistleblower
Mr Shatter’s court action is aimed at quashing parts of the Guerin report, which concerns his handling of allegations made by a garda whistleblower

The good name of former minister for justice Alan Shatter was "besmirched" by the Guerin report, the High Court has heard.

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Mr Shatter's court action is aimed at quashing parts of the Guerin report, which concerns his handling of allegations made by a garda whistleblower.

Closing the case for Mr Shatter, Patrick O'Reilly SC said the former minister was given no notice by barrister Sean Guerin that "conclusions" "impacting heavily" on his good name would be reached in this "unfair" report.

The report was "clearly critical" of Mr Shatter whose good name had been "besmirched" without giving him an opportunity to respond, counsel argued.

Mr Guerin gave Mr Shatter no opportunity to address various unresolved issues he said.

Having heard closing arguments from both sides, Mr Justice Seamus Noonan said he was reserving judgment and a decision would be given later.

In the judicial review proceedings against Mr Guerin, Mr Shatter wants orders to quash sections of the May 2014 report compiled by Mr Guerin after his review of how certain public bodies handled allegations by Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

Mr Shatter claims Mr Guerin made a number of "highly critical" findings concerning the then minister's handling of those allegations, leaving Mr Shatter with no alternative but to resign on May 7, 2014, the day after the report was published.

Mr Guerin denies any unfairness in his report or in the manner in which he carried out his review and said his report contained "observations", not conclusions, based on documents provided for the review by the Department of Justice.

The disputed aspects of the report includes statements by Mr Guerin that the Minister had accepted the response of the Commissioner to the McCabe complaints "without question".

Complaints

The report also said the process of determining Sgt McCabe's complaints went no further than the Minister receiving and acting upon the advice of the then Garda Commissioner, Martin Callanan, "the very individual who was the subject of the complaint".

Mr Guerin said his "observation" in the report that there was no independent investigation of Sgt McCabe's complaints was "an objective description" of the information provided by the Minister through his department.

Irish Independent

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