Thursday 23 November 2017

Legality of interview 'stoppages'

Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

A PERSON charged with a serious offence can be detained for up to 24 hours for questioning. The detention clock can be "stopped" if a suspect agrees to a rest period between 12am and 8am or requires hospital treatment.

The clock can also be stopped where a doctor certifies that a prisoner is unfit for interview.

Mr Mineikas and Mr Dilys were arrested at 5.45pm on October 9 last.

Both men had been drinking prior to their arrest and gardai called in a doctor to examine them. Their initial six-hour detention period expired at 11.45pm, but they rested overnight after the doctor deemed they were not fit for interview.

Their interviews were suspended at approximately 8.45pm, but the doctor did not specify on the certificate an exact time period during which they could not be questioned.

The doctor certified that Mineikas should not be interviewed "until am" and that Dilys's interview should resume "in am".

In the absence of the jury, the doctor stated that he had in mind 8am when the men's interviews would resume.

The men were interviewed the following morning, but Mr Justice Barry White ruled that any evidence gleaned from interviews after 11.45pm was obtained when they were in unlawful detention.

Irish Independent

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