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'GSOC probe into rape of child stymied'

THE mother of a 10-year-old allegedly raped at knifepoint has blamed gardai for frustrating a Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) probe into her daughter's case.

The woman believes the DPP would have taken action against the alleged attacker had there not been problems with the initial investigation.

And she has blamed gardai for holding up a four-year-old probe into the case, claiming key officers have often been unavailable for interview.

"I was told at the start the GSOC probe would take six months," the mother said. "I made my complaint in 2009 and there is still no end in sight."

She told how she made contact with the GSOC on the advice of Justice Minister Alan Shatter, who at the time was Fine Gael's justice spokesman.

But the mother was not even interviewed for the initial investigation, which was carried out on GSOC's behalf by a senior garda.

The Commission then demanded a second, wider probe, and a chief superintendent from outside the division involved was appointed to review the case's handling.

LETTER

But gardai failed to inform the mother the DPP was taking no action. Notification came via a solicitor's letter, but the family had already heard from a third party by that point.

The woman said she believed GSOC had done their very best but had been held up.

"They haven't been able to get the documentation they need," she added. "Their hands are tied. Without the files, they cannot finish the probe.

"But we are not going away. No matter how long it takes, we want to know what happened and why no prosecution was taken over my little girl.

"It is like a never-ending nightmare. They wonder why victims are so reluctant to report abuse. This is why."

A garda spokesman said he could not comment as the case was under review. But the Herald understands the force disputes key complaints.

Officers insist they were available for interview and that all documentation was provided, albeit with a delay caused by the complex nature of the case.

Two senior gardai assigned by GSOC also reviewed the allegations and found there was no case to answer.

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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