Dedicated sergeant in abuse case wins award
John Hynes paid tribute to his wife Catherine last night after the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors presented him with the 2011 Excellence Award at a conference in Strand Hotel, Co Limerick. Press 22
THE garda sergeant who led the investigation into a harrowing child abuse case has told how he relied on his wife to help him cope.
John Hynes said his wife Catherine, a former garda, helped him through the ordeal of interviewing six children to establish the details of abuse, and secure a successful court prosecution.
A father of three, he said his family played a major part in supporting him through what was described as a harrowing case.
Last night in Limerick his colleagues in the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors presented him with the 2011 Excellence Award as recognition of his dedication to his task and ensuring there was a successful outcome to the court case.
Sgt Hynes said when he started the investigation in October 2004 he tried to create an environment to remove the element of fear for the children.
He paid tribute to the Health Service Executive for its co-operation in the interviews and noted that the children were spared some of their court ordeal when their mother pleaded guilty to the abuse charges.
However, their father denied the charges and a nine-day trial was held. But it resulted in a conviction and he was sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment.
Sgt Hynes told how he and his colleagues had eventually gained the trust of the children and found out as many details as they could of the abuse.
"But I think we will never know the full extent of what they suffered," he added.
"I am married to a former garda and was able to talk to her and tell her what I was going through during that investigation. That was very helpful for me.
"In the end we got justice for the children and they acknowledged that themselves. The eldest child said he was quite happy with the conclusion.
"The children are now with fantastic foster parents and are already receiving support from some relatives."
Making the presentation, the association deputy general secretary John Redmond said the case involved a lengthy investigation into a horrific catalogue of child cruelty, neglect, physical and sexual abuse.
He said Sgt Hynes's dedication to his harrowing task had won him praise from the public, judiciary, the legal profession, and garda management.
"His personal commitment, drive, stamina and dedication has ensured that the children involved have moved closer to living a normal life.
"We salute John for his dedication to the role of policeman in contemporary society."