Saturday 20 January 2018

Call for an inquiry on PULSE files issue

Senior Counsel Sean Guerin. Photo: Mark Condren
Senior Counsel Sean Guerin. Photo: Mark Condren

Tom Brady Security Editor

COMPLAINTS that records on the garda PULSE system were erased, destroyed, altered and falsified need to be properly investigated, according to the Guerin Report.

Sean Guerin has raised concerns about the adequacy of the investigation into complaints made by Sgt McCabe relating to incidents recorded in two boxes of PULSE computer records that were seized from him in October 2010.

"In my opinion, these matters warrant further inquiry in an appropriate forum in the public interest," Mr Guerin said.

There appeared to be an issue of whether significant numbers of detected road traffic offences, even cases where the suspect made an admission, were being prosecuted. Another more general issue concerned detected offences being neglected, and there was an allegation that records were being altered to disguise a failure to prosecute.

Sgt McCabe also claimed the names of young people were being entered into PULSE, even though they had never committed any offence.

The seizure of the records at the Hillgrove Hotel in Monaghan in October 2010 arose during a meeting between Sgt McCabe and Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne and Chief Supt Terry McGinn. After an initial discussion, Sgt McCabe had left the room and returned with two archive boxes. Assistant Commissioner Byrne called on Sgt McCabe to explain how he got access to the documents and directed him to hand them over.

Mr Guerin said Sgt McCabe put the papers back into the boxes to take them away again. As he "made for the door" with the boxes, Mr Byrne blocked his path and there was a physical confrontation between them. Voices were raised and Mr Byrne secured possession of the boxes.

The following month, Deputy Commissioner Nacie Rice carried out an investigation into complaints by Sgt McCabe of assault and false imprisonment, while also dealing with the PULSE printouts seized. A file was subsequently submitted to the DPP, who directed there should be no prosecution.

Mr Guerin said he believed the position adopted by Deputy Commissioner Rice was one reasonably open to an officer conducting a proper, independent investigation.

Irish Independent

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