‘Lack of evidence keeps cases from courts’, RTÉ reports in a headline summarising the annual report from the Director of Public Prosecutions.
My first reaction to the headline was the Homer Response.
‘That’s reassuring’ was my second reaction.
My third reaction was to think of news stories following high profile crimes – from so-called ‘gangland murders’ to tiger kidnappings – ending with the news that the Gardaí have made arrests.
These announcements are usually followed a day or two later with a much smaller story to the effect that all those arrested have been released from custody, and a file has been sent to the DPP.
In other words, a public relations exercise leads to a few high-profile arrests of ‘the usual suspects’, and a file is sent to the DPP.
The file will consist of a description of the crime, witness statements, and the interviews with those under arrest: ‘suspect made no response’.
In other words, a lack of evidence.
The truth is, professional criminals rarely confess in custody. That kind of thing only happens with amateurs. Forensic evidence – DNA, fingerprints, CCTV – is a much more fruitful avenue of investigation, but an arrest gives the impression of Garda activity.