Sunday 15 December 2019

Henry 'Harry' Gleeson case: Incorrect name has 'tarnished' murder pardon

Henry ‘Harry’ Gleeson. Photo: Courtesy Tom Gleeson
Henry ‘Harry’ Gleeson. Photo: Courtesy Tom Gleeson

Adam Cullen and Denise Calnan

The family of the very first man ever to receive a posthumous pardon in the history of the state have said it has "been tarnished" by the Government's inability to get his name correct on the official documentation.

Henry 'Harry' Gleeson was wrongly convicted of the 1940 murder of Mary 'Moll' McCarthy. He was sentenced to death and was executed a year later for the slaying of Ms McCarthy, a single mother of seven, who had been found with gunshot wounds to her face. Throughout the course of his incarceration, Mr Gleeson maintained his innocence. His legal representation also remained convinced of his innocence.

Following a submission from the Innocence Project Ireland and the Justice for Harry Gleeson group, the Attorney General ordered a review of the case.

It was undertaken by Shane Murphy who uncovered serious deficiencies in the conviction, including a lack of substantial evidence.

President Michael D Higgins officially signed a posthumous pardon for Mr Gleeson on December 19. However, his family have expressed their outrage that the document prepared by the Department of the Justice and the Office of the Attorney General bears his nickname 'Harry' rather than his correct name 'Henry'.

"I just found absolutely unacceptable that after 75 years of campaigning to clear his name, the Government can not even get it correct," said Mr Gleesons great-nephew Vincent Phelan.

"This was prepared by the foremost legal minds in this land, and it is the first of its kind. What does it say for our country that they can't get it right? he asked.

"This is a legal document, and a nickname appears on it. If you gave a guard a nickname instead of your real name that wouldn't be good enough.

"If you appeared in court for a simple TV licence charge and the wrong name appeared it would be thrown out."

Mr Phelan complained to the President's Office and were told in an email seen by this newspaper that the matter had been referred to the Department of the Taoiseach.

Irish Independent

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