The Charleton Report

As possibly the only journalist in Ireland to have covered two Garda tribunals of inquiry in their entirety, I should probably say a few words about what will probably come to be known in shorthand as the Charleton Tribunal. For starters, although I’d be glad to do so, it’s deeply unlikely I will cover a […]

Why is anyone surprised by ‘Corrib Cops’?

Once upon a time, I wrote a screenplay, based on the Morris tribunal. It’s in development, which is a polite way of saying it’s sitting on a shelf in a producer’s office somewhere, gathering dust because the producer is busy gathering funds for other projects. This is one scene from that screenlay. It’s impossible to […]

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 […]

Partial Record

Something rather odd happened to the Morris tribunal recently. It disappeared. Blogger Gavin Sheridan noticed something awry when he went looking for a transcript on the site about eight weeks ago. He prepared an Freedom Of Information request to find out what was going on. ‘If we are to learn any lessons from the Morris […]

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 […]