The report of the independent inquiry by Mr. Justice Frank Clarke into the conduct of designated officers of the Ombudsman Commission in an investigation conducted by GSOC in 2015 has been published
GSOC notes the publication today (6 July 2018) of the report of the independent inquiry by Mr. Justice Frank Clarke (now Chief Justice) into the conduct of designated officers of the Ombudsman Commission in an investigation conducted by GSOC in 2015.
Mr. Justice Frank Clarke had undertaken an inquiry under section 109 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 into the conduct of designated officers of the Ombudsman Commission, after the death of a Garda member, Sergeant Michael Galvin, in 2015 and it was found that he had been previously interviewed under caution in the context of a GSOC investigation into a fatal road traffic incident.
GSOC received the report, published by the Department of Justice and Equality, in June 2016.
At that time, the Ombudsman Commission welcomed the finding of the inquiry that GSOC’s officers had undertaken their duties properly in relation to the investigation of the tragic road death of a young woman.
In relation to contact between GSOC officers and Garda members subject of the investigation, Mr. Justice Clarke noted that “no materials or evidence came to light to suggest that the relevant interviews were conducted in anything other than a professional and appropriate fashion”.
GSOC also noted that Mr. Justice Clarke found that the decision by GSOC to designate the fatality as a matter for criminal investigation was made too quickly after receiving the referral. However he also found that the decision “was taken bona fide and, in the light of the lack of clarity which is to be found in the legislation itself, the Inquiry has come to the view that it must conclude that the decisions respectively to recommend and designate the investigation as a criminal investigation, while mistaken, would not justify any action being taken against individuals concerned.”
The report also clarified that “while it views the decision to instigate a criminal investigation at the time when that decision was taken as having been mistaken, this should not be taken to mean that the Inquiry feels that no criminal investigation at all could properly have been instigated”.
The Ombudsman Commission undertook at the time to give careful consideration to the recommendations made by Mr. Justice Clarke. A number of practices were reviewed and the Ombudsman Commission has made a number of changes in line with the recommendations.
Mr. Justice Clarke’s report also recommended that sections of the Garda Síochána Act 2005, which governs the operation of GSOC, be reviewed. GSOC has since drawn up detailed proposals for legislative change and submitted its proposals to the Department of Justice and Equality.
The full report can be found here
GSOC Communications & Research Unit