GSOC Statement on appearance at Dublin Coroner’s Court today
GSOC attended a hearing of the Dublin City Coroner’s Court this morning, Wednesday, 14 June 2023, in relation to a road traffic collision on the N7 in July 2021 in which three people died.
GSOC requested an adjournment of coronial proceedings under the provisions of s25(2) of the Coroners Act, 1962, owing to the fact that the Director of Public Prosecutions has instituted criminal proceedings against a member of An Garda Síochána in relation to the incident. The Coroner granted the adjournment, pending determination of the criminal proceedings.
As the matter is now before the Courts, GSOC will be making no further comment at this time.
Further background detail is available in the note to editor.
NOTE TO EDITOR
What is GSOC?
The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) is an independent investigative agency, established in 2007 under the Garda Síochána Act, 2005.
GSOC’s statutory role is to independently investigate the conduct of members of An Garda Síochána on foot both of complaints by members of the public, and of referrals made to it by the Garda Commissioner. GSOC may conduct investigations with respect both to disciplinary and criminal matters.
Why did GSOC investigate this case?
This matter relates to a road traffic incident in July 2021 involving a Garda pursuit, in which three people died.
The incident was referred to GSOC by An Garda Síochána, pursuant to section 102 of the Garda Síochána Act, 2005.
Section102(1) of the Garda Síochána Act, 2005 provides that An Garda Síochána shall refer to GSOC “any matter that appears to the Garda Commissioner to indicate that the conduct of a member of the Garda Síochána may have resulted in the death of, or serious harm to, a person”.
Any matter that is referred to GSOC under this section must be investigated by GSOC.
In accordance with its statutory duty under the Act, GSOC conducted an independent investigation into the incident, and furnished a file to the DPP.
What is the DPP’s role?
While GSOC has an investigative function, it has no role whatsoever in prosecuting criminal matters.
Where in the course of a criminal investigation GSOC finds evidence of conduct that may constitute an offence, it is obliged to forward its investigative file to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
It is entirely a matter for the DPP to decide whether or not a prosecution should result.
What are the charges?
GSOC is not in a position to discuss the charges as this matter is now the subject of a criminal prosecution. These are a matter for the DPP, and will become a matter of public record in the courts in due course.
Why was GSOC appearing before the Coroner’s Court today?
Where GSOC is investigating an incident in which a death has occurred, the Coroner is empowered under the Coroners Act, 1962 as amended to request the attendance, testimony and assistance of GSOC in coronial proceedings. This is analogous to the role An Garda Síochána plays in coronial proceedings when they are the lead investigative agency. It is in this capacity that GSOC appeared at the Coroner’s Court today.