Thursday 25 May 2017

Missing carpenter's family to sue Dutch police force

Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

THE FAMILY of a missing Irish man are set to take legal action against the Dutch police over their handling of the case.

James Patrick Grealis, who was known as JP, went missing in the Dutch town of Breda in 2008. His family want the Dutch authorities to re-open the case they believe was not properly investigated.

Helen Grealis, a sister of the missing man, said the family were in the process of taking a case against the police.

She added that they were willing to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights, if necessary.

"We're in talks to take legal action at the moment and we're consulting with our lawyer on what options are open to us," she said.

In October 23, 2008, the 24-year-old carpenter disappeared without a trace after leaving a guesthouse in the Dutch town of Breda to look for work.

Since then his family say they have fought a constant battle with Dutch authorities to get the case properly investigated.

Last April, the family succeeded in getting a case into their brother's disappearance reopened following appeals from the Irish Government and a demonstration held outside the Dutch embassy in Dublin.

However, police closed it once again just three months later in July. And the family were not told the case had been closed until October.

"It was only opened for a matter of months. They did nothing at all, it was all just going through the motions.

"I think they only reopened it because pressure was put on them by the Irish Government. A five-page report is not a proper investigation.

"They still haven't talked to the last guy my brother lived with.


"I've spoken to him myself and he was surprised not to have been contacted.

"They haven't followed up on bank records or phone records either," said Ms Grealis.

One option the family are considering is putting pressure on Dutch authorities to hand the investigation to police from another district.

Ms Grealis said she is determined to keep pressing authorities for a full investigation.

"It's tough and it doesn't get any easier. Christmas was not a nice time. My parents live on their own at home in Achill and it's very hard on them. We just want to bring him home," she said.

"We have no closure and it's difficult with the total lack of support we have been getting in this case.

"It's so frustrating when we should be concentrating on finding JP that we have to take a case against the police," said Ms Grealis.

Irish Independent

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