Friday 14 December 2018

Warning on 'knee-jerk' reaction to knife killing

Justice Minister intervenes after murder suspect racially abused outside court

Charged: Mohamed Morei was racially abused. Picture: Gerry Mooney
Charged: Mohamed Morei was racially abused. Picture: Gerry Mooney

Philip Ryan and Robin Schiller

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has warned against "knee-jerk" reactions in the aftermath of the Dundalk knife attack which left one man dead and two others seriously injured.

Mr Flanagan said he was "very concerned" people were "jumping to conclusions" after gardai arrested and charged Mohamed Morei with the murder of Japanese national Yosuke Sasaki.

"I am concerned at some of the commentary and people jumping to conclusions because there is a Garda investigation and these investigations take time and must proceed without any duress," the minister told the Sunday Independent.

Mr Morei was taunted and racially abused by a large crowd as he entered Dundalk District Court, where he was charged with murder last Wednesday evening.

Mr Morei appeared before Judge Gerry Jones and the court was told gardai were having difficulties confirming the accused's nationality.

Garda Inspector Martin Beggy told the court there was nothing "in common between the deceased and the accused".

Asked if there were any concerns for Mr Morei, Insp Beggy said: "We have a concern. He has presented certain matters to us and we would have concerns. We would request that he receive appropriate medical and psychiatric care in custody."

Garda Damien Welby said Mr Morei was charged at 5.20pm and made no reply when cautioned. The charge was then read by an interpreter. Gda Welby, of Blackrock garda station, was the unarmed officer who arrested the accused last Wednesday.

Mr Morei, who was wearing grey tracksuit bottoms and a dark sweatshirt, made a number of outbursts including: "I'm no gay", "F*** you", and "I'm no Muslim".

Defence counsel Barry Callan applied for free legal aid for the accused, that an Arabic translator be provided, and that Mr Morei be medically and psychologically evaluated. He was remanded in custody to appear at Cloverhill District Court via videolink next Thursday.

Mr Flanagan paid tribute to the gardai involved in the case. "I want to acknowledge the good work of the gardai both nationally here in Dublin and Dundalk but also in terms of our international contacts," he said.

"The importance of international cooperation was really underlined here. We saw first hand the importance of international engagement through work with our EU colleagues, increasingly important now in the context of social mobility.

"We have worked well with our EU counterparts and our UK counterparts which is vitally important in the context of Brexit that a very high degree of cooperation continues north-south and east-west," he added.

Mr Flanagan said Ireland has no immunity from international terrorism but said he has been advised there is no immediate threat.

He added: "In the matter of international terrorist threat, Ireland does not enjoy any exempted status. We don't have any immunity. However, we have no evidence of any specific threat. I'm urging people to be vigilant. Our gardai share intelligence at the highest level with our UK and EU colleagues. The greatest threat to our national security comes from dissident Republicans in the border area."

Sunday Independent

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