Thursday 27 November 2014

Beleaguered Shatter looks into 24 new claims of injustice from crime victims

Published 01/03/2014 | 02:30

Justice Minister Alan Shatter
Justice Minister Alan Shatter

UNDER-fire Justice Minister Alan Shatter has examined 24 new complaints of injustice from victims of crime, the Irish Independent can reveal.

The serious allegations, which were sent to the Justice Department last year, include further claims that murders were not properly investigated and gardai failed to investigate crimes when reported by the public.

Last night, the department confirmed the cases had been inspected and said responses would be sent to the individuals involved "in the very near future".

A spokesman said: "Some of these complaints dated back a number of years, some related to bodies other than An Garda Siochana and some covered a range of issues. The examination of the 24 submissions was quite a time-consuming exercise but is now finalised."

The news follows a turbulent week for the minister who was forced to launch an independent review of garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe's claims of gross negligence in the force.

Campaign group, Justice4All, sent to Mr Shatter last October 24 signed affidavits from victims of crime, who claim they have been unfairly treated by the justice system.

The group, which held public meetings throughout the country, includes TDs Luke 'Ming' Flanagan, Mick Wallace, Clare Daly and Joan Collins. Garda whistleblower John Wilson, who along with Sgt McCabe raised concerns about quashed penalty points, is also an active member of the organisation.

Group spokesman Pat Fitzpatrick said he has heard a lot of worrying stories from members of the public since the organisation was set up.

Mr Fitzpatrick said he dealt with at least three land disputes which turned 'nasty' and led to one side being victimised by authorities. He said the group heard lots of reports of people in low-income areas being targeted because they were "from the wrong side of the tracks".

He said: "A lot of the stuff we come across is a lack of work discipline that leads to bad situations. That might not sound like the biggest crime in the world but if you are expecting gardai to do stuff for you and they don't it, it can be quite frightening."

He claimed a lot of people brought their case to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission but were not happy with the response they received.

Justice4All committee member Catherine Costello said in most cases families were looking for answers for the loss of a loved one but found they were being passed around by the authorities.

She said: "Most of the people I deal with have been through the judicial system and then they go to the Ombudsman and then they have gone to the politicians and then gone to the Justice Minister – it's like a merry-go-round.

"It is going into decades and there is no closure for some of the families."

Irish Independent

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