Watchdog Calls for "Further Disclosure" of Commissioner's Legal Instructions

  • 25-05-2016
  • Categorized in: Justice

Press Release, for immediate release

 

25 May 2016

 

Ireland's independent human rights watchdog the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has called for "further disclosure" - to the Policing Authority - of the precise instructions given on behalf of the Garda Commissioner to her O'Higgins Inquiry legal team.

 

The rights watchdog's call comes after the release of a detailed statement today (25 May 2016) by the Garda Commissioner setting out the action she has taken, and intends to take, based on the findings of the O'Higgins Inquiry.

 

ICCL Executive Director Mr Mark Kelly said:

 

"The Council accepts in good faith the Commissioner's statement that at no stage were instructions given on her behalf to impugn the integrity of Sgt McCabe before the O'Higgins Tribunal. However, her statement also makes clear that it was decided robustly to challenge his credibility in relation to at least certain of his allegations. The lawyer-client privilege that covers the precise legal instructions given at various stages of the Inquiry should not be confused with the confidentiality rules that apply to evidence actually given before the Inquiry. It may be waived by the Commissioner at her sole discretion."

 

"Irrespective of the manner in which purported exchanges before the Inquiry may have come to light, the ICCL considers that there is now an overwhelming public interest in further disclosure of the precise approach that the Commissioner's legal team was instructed to adopt at various stages in relation to the evidence of a whistleblower.  If the Commissioner feels that, for a variety of reasons, it would set a bad precedent for her legal instructions to be published, the ICCL suggests that, in the first instance, those instructions be made available in full to the Policing Authority in advance of its private meeting with the Commissioner tomorrow" Mr Kelly added.

 

"Policing reform must not, once again, be used as a political football" Mr Kelly cautioned. "Legislators created the Policing Authority to establish a cordon sanitaire between them and policing policy. They should now accord the Authority the courtesy of being allowed to do its work" he concluded.

 

ENDS

 

Mark Kelly is available for interview and further comment

 

 

For more information, please contact:

 

Emily Glen, Communications Officer

 

Irish Council for Civil Liberties

9-13 Blackhall Place

Dublin 7

Ireland

 

Tel. + 353 1 799 4504

Mob: +353 87 9981574

 

E-mail: emily.glen@iccl.ie


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