Monday 22 December 2014

Editorial: Justice minister has his work cut out after pathology debacle

Published 02/12/2013 | 03:31

Alan Shatter

THE reality of senior professionals being unable to find a way of working together is not new.

So, few will be surprised that State Pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy and her deputy, Dr Khalid Jaber, were unable to forge a working relationship. Dr Jaber resigned at the weekend as details of their strained working relationship became public.

This was not the first such case and it is most unlikely that it will be the last. Had it occurred in many other walks of life we would all collectively shrug and reflect that life must go on.

But the work of the state pathologist service is no ordinary work and this situation brings consequences which go far beyond the individuals involved and their immediate colleagues.

The stark fact is that several key investigations into serious crime are now potentially affected as Dr Jaber's resignation takes effect. There is a real danger that court cases may not proceed as planned. That raises more serious questions about the management of this tricky personal situation and obliges us to ask how long these matters were known to their management. We must ask what steps were put in place to deal with the problems.

We also need to know what steps are now being taken to ensure cases under threat of disruption can be continued as planned and with minimal disruption.

We need responses from the highest authority. In practice, this is an issue which requires the immediate personal attention of the Justice Minister.

Irish Independent

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