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Wednesday 27 August 2014

Shatter launches stinging attack on Guerin report

Philip Ryan

Published 19/06/2014 | 16:11

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Justice Minister Alan Shatter
Former Justice Minister Alan Shatter
Alan Shatter. Photo: Collins
Alan Shatter. Photo: Collins

ALAN Shatter has launched stinging attack on barrister Sean Guerin over his handling of the investigation into garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe’s allegations of garda misconduct.

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Mr Shatter said he was “secretly put on trial” by Mr Guerin who “rushed to judgement” in his report on Sgt McCabe’s claims.

The former justice minister highlighted a harrowing case revealed in the Irish Independent and said this should form part of any statutory inquiry.

“If the statutory inquiry is to be comprehensive it should include all cases dealt with in Bailieboro Garda Station which have given rise to complaint.” 

“There is a matter which has been the subject of articles in the Irish Independent which included a report of Michael Martin meeting an individual who alleges she was the victim of a sexual assault and who alleges that  her complaint was not recorded on Pulse  nor did it result in a prosecution.”

“I understand from the newspaper report that Deputy Martin was to provide information on this matter to An Taoiseach and I presume he has done so.”

“This case should clearly form part of any statutory inquiry.”  

He also called into question “the leadership” in the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) after allegations of gardai bugging its headquarters were dismissed by retired Judge John Cooke.

He described GSOC chairman Simon O’Brien’s explanation for not reporting the security sweep to him when he was Justice Minister as “not credible”.

“I believe the conduct of GSOC’s Commissioners and the narrative and conclusions of Judge Cooke raise genuine concerns as to GSOC’s capacity to undertake and comply with its statutory duties under its present leadership,” he added.

During a debate on the Cooke Report – into the Garda Ombudsman bugging scandal – Mr Shatter took the opportunity to also address Sean Guerin’s report.

Mr Shatter resigned the day after Mr Guerin’s report was received by the Government.

“I believe no one in the future requested to undertake such a task should be enabled to take to him or herself the role of investigator, prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner,” he said.

He described Mr Guerin’s investigation as “bizarre” and questioned why many of those involved in Sgt McCabe’s allegations were not interviewed.

Mr Shatter was especially concerned by the fact that he was not interviewed by Sean Guerin.

“I believe that I am entitled to an explanation for the approach adopted in the preparation and finalisation of the Guerin report,” he said.

He added: “My accusation is that of a fundamentally flawed preliminary inquiry and report and an unprecedented rush to judgement.”

As a prosecuting Counsel, Mr Guerin must know that the manner in which he conducted his role and some of the conclusions reached by him would not withstand court scrutiny.”

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