It’s an interesting story alright:
In September 2000 a constituent of [TD] Mr Dick Roche came to him alleging he had been beaten by gardaa the previous night following a disturbance at a birthday party at a hotel in Dublin’s south inner city. Michael Gaffney (18), from Bray, showed Mr Roche bruises and other marks on his body.
Mr Roche drew up a statement, and sent it to the then minister for justice John O’Donoghue. This was sent on to the then Garda commissioner Pat Byrne. However, while Mr Byrne appointed a member of the force to compile a file for the complaints board, this member decided to exclude Mr Roche’s statement.
Mr Holmes only learned of the existence of the statement after Mr Roche spoke about it in a special Prime Time programme last year. Mr Roche was “astonished” by the handling of his statement.
But apparently such a thing cannot happen again:
Mr Holmes was not satisfied with this explanation. “He [ Mr Roche] wasn’t just making representations, as you often find, he was actually a witness. He saw the person the next day, and saw the marks etc that were on that person. There are witnesses who were involved and he wasn’t involved, so his evidence would have carried more weight with us.
“Certainly, as a matter of practice, an investigating officer should not remove a statement from a person, from anybody, least of all from a very responsible deputy, from a file they are sending down to us.”
However, he was glad to see a protocol had been drawn up to prevent the same situation arising again. The case was highlighted in the 2004 annual report of the Garda Complaints Board yesterday.
A protocol? Hmm.