Irish News

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Garda files on child rape probe handed over to GSOC

Ralph Riegel

Published 18/03/2014|02:30

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Minister for Justice Alan Shatter
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter

Two key garda files have been handed over to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) in its probe into the handling of a child rape investigation.

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The mother of the then 10-year-old child has insisted failings in the original investigation into the 2005/2006 and 2011 allegations contributed to the DPP's decision not to sanction criminal action.

The middle-aged man at the centre of the allegations, a neighbour of the child and her family, has never been prosecuted. It is alleged that he raped the child at knifepoint and threatened her family if she told anyone about what happened.

GSOC had sought several of the garda case files for almost four years.

They were finally handed over last week.

Now GSOC investigators must decide whether to sanction an expanded 'public interest' inquiry into the matter.

The mother complained about the actions of the HSE and investigating gardai.

She claimed the four-year-old GSOC probe has been continually frustrated.

"I was told at the start that the GSOC probe would take six months to complete. I made my complaint in 2009 and now, years on, there is still no end in sight," she said.

The woman said her initial contact with GSOC was on the advice of Justice Minister Alan Shatter who was at the time Fine Gael's justice spokesman.

GSOC's probe remains ongoing because of repeated delays in interviewing key garda witnesses. In many cases the delays were the result of the continued unavailability of key officers.

MOTHER

The alleged victim's mother claims she wasn't interviewed during an initial probe, conducted on GSOC's behalf by a senior garda.

GSOC then demanded a wider probe and a chief superintendent was appointed to review the case handling.

"We are not going away. No matter how long it takes we want to know what happened and why no prosecution was taken over what was done to my little girl," the mother said.

A garda spokesman said they are unable to comment on the matter given that it is the subject of an ongoing GSOC investigation.

However, the Irish Independent understands that gardai vehemently dispute several of the key complaints.

Gardai insist that all officers made themselves available to the GSOC inquiry and all relevant case documentation was provided.

Further, two senior gardai who conducted a probe on GSOC's behalf reviewed the allegations and found there was no case to answer.

However, GSOC was not satisfied and ordered further inquiries.

The woman said she is convinced, but for shortcomings with the initial investigation, that the DPP would have sanctioned criminal action.

The mother and daughter were at the centre of a hard-hitting Ombudsman for Children report last year which slated the HSE for its handling of the case.

The alleged victim – who is now 18 – said that she feels her treatment by the HSE and, in particular, the gardai was almost worse than the original rape itself. "Not being believed . . . was absolutely soul-destroying. It was as if somehow I didn't matter or what happened didn't matter," she said.

Irish Independent

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