Just A Phone Call Away

Garda John O’Toole needed a favour. Phone records necessary for a criminal inquiry were trapped in bureaucratic hell, and the investigation was going nowhere. He phoned his brother-in-law in Garda HQ, asking if he could speed things up. The chief had signed the authorisations, but nothing was happening at the phone company. DI Nyham said […]

There’s Always One

The benefit of the doubt (or if you prefer, the presumption of innocence) is one of the longest established principles in the common law. At it’s most blunt, the principle is expressed in Blackstone’s formulation: “better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer”. Populist cheerleaders for tough policing often focus on those […]

Threat Level

Justice minister Dermot Ahern says membership of a criminal gang will become a scheduled offence, to be tried in the Special Criminal Court. In the last chapter of Chaos and Conspiracy, when I considered the lessons to be learned from what happened in Donegal a decade ago, I wrote this: “The Gardaí need effective oversight […]

Independent Review

Gerard Cunningham, who covered every day of evidence at the Morris tribunal, has written a devastating new book. Chaos and Conspiracy is at its most powerful when it details the awful consequences of the wrongful arrests of twelve innocent people. Take for example, Roisin McConnell: accused of having an affair, called a slut and a […]

Heartbeat

How much does PULSE cost? PULSE, in case you’re wondering, stands for Police Using Leading Systems Effectively, a name that screams Retro-Acronym. More importantly, PULSE is the computer database used by An Garda Síochána to record details of everything from police intelligence on criminal gangs to whether you’ve racked up any penalty points in your […]