Thursday, 26 February 2004

Questions (90)

Joan Burton

Question:

88 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position in regard to the Garda investigation into the murder of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6213/04]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform)

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the murder of the person referred to in the Deputy's question was fully investigated by the Garda and an investigation file was forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions for directions.

I am further informed that in 2002 the investigation was subsequently reviewed by members of the Garda independent from the investigators who carried out the original investigation and a report was forwarded to the DPP who directed that no prosecution should ensue.

Arising from recent related civil proceedings at Cork Circuit Court and following consultation with the DPP, the Garda Commissioner requested the officers who undertook the 2002 review to conduct an evaluation of the oral evidence tendered at the hearing. Any new evidence arising out of this process will be forwarded to the DPP for directions.

As the Deputy will appreciate, I have no role in the investigation or prosecution of cases. This is a long standing principle of our system of justice. The role of the Garda is to investigate alleged offences, to gather whatever evidence may be available and to submit a report to the Director of Public Prosecutions. The question of whether a person should be prosecuted and for what criminal offence is the responsibility of the DPP. The director, who is independent in the performance of his functions, makes his decision on the basis of the Garda findings viewed against the background of common and-or statute law. In the circumstances it would, therefore, be inappropriate for me to comment further on the case.