Wednesday 28 September 2016

Inquiry has draft report on gardai

Published 06/03/2016 | 02:30

Allegations were made about the conduct of nine criminal investigations in Cavan and Monaghan
Allegations were made about the conduct of nine criminal investigations in Cavan and Monaghan

The O'Higgins inquiry into alleged Garda malpractice has circulated a draft report to witnesses in advance of reporting to the Government next month.

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The commission of inquiry, under retired judge Kevin O'Higgins, examined allegations made by the Garda whistleblower, Sergeant Maurice McCabe, about the conduct of nine criminal investigations in Cavan and Monaghan.

Some 97 witnesses, including gardai and officials in the Department of Justice, were interviewed in private hearings over 33 days. Several senior Garda officers were among those who gave evidence.

The Sunday Independent understands that a draft report has been circulated to witnesses in recent weeks.

They are being invited to return their written submissions to the Commission before the retired judge completes his final report.

The O'Higgins commission will report on the specific criminal investigations in Cavan and Monaghan that were raised by Sergeant McCabe and will also make findings on how the Garda's complaints were investigated by the then Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, and senior Garda management.

The criminal cases that came under scrutiny included the Garda investigation into Jerry McGrath, who murdered Sylvia Roche Kelly while he was on bail for other crimes.

Before the murder, he was on bail for assaulting a taxi driver. While on bail for that crime, he attempted to abduct a child.

McGrath was released on bail again and went on to murder Ms Roche Kelly.

Other cases include how gardai investigated a possible sexual assault on a bus, an assault at a hotel and cases of assault and false imprisonment.

The commission was set up on the recommendation of a barrister, Sean Guerin, who reviewed Sgt McCabe's claims and said a commission of investigation was in the public interest.

Mr O'Higgins is due to report on April 29.

Sunday Independent

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