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Thursday 24 May 2018

Homicide cases under review are still before courts

Acting Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin will miss hearing
Acting Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin will miss hearing

Kevin Doyle and Cormac McQuinn

A number of homicide cases suspected of being wrongly classified by gardaí are before the courts or still being investigated.

Senior officers will today admit the re-examination of cases dating back to 2003 "could have been quicker" but add that it is "a highly complex area".

Assistant Commissioners Orla McPartlin and Michael Finn are due before the Oireachtas Committee on Justice today to explain ongoing delays in the reclassification of homicide cases.

The Irish Independent has highlighted over recent weeks how the review has found a variety of wrongly recorded incidents, including the deaths of two children who had alcohol in their system.

It was anticipated that a full report would be available for the Policing Authority by now but instead Garda management has appointed a new working group to take over the project.

Acting Garda Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin was invited to the committee to outline the findings so far - but he will now miss the hearing as it coincides with the funeral of Detective Superintendent Colm Fox, who died at the weekend.

Instead his senior officers will tell members that their review identified 41 deaths between 2013 and 2015 that warranted further examination.

Of these a dozen required re-classification.

"In each of those 12 deaths family members of the deceased were contacted to inform them of the change in the incident classification and offer them advice and information on victim support organisations that may be of help to them," the assistant commissioners will state.

They will add that "a number of the 12 cases are before the courts or currently under investigation and may be subject to further classification changes on Pulse [the Garda computer system]".

The Oireachtas will hear that the new working group will now undertake the following:

A further independent peer review of the quality of the investigations carried out in respect of the 41 cases;

Dip sampling to establish to which degree Pulse is updated in a timely manner with outcomes from the higher courts;

All homicide cases from 2003 to 2017 to be reviewed.

Irish Independent

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