AN “incomplete” garda investigation into a Shannon fatality is akin to a “miscarriage of justice”, a local woman has claimed.
The Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) recently made a ruling refusing the release of a report about a review of a garda investigation, which was completed by Superintendent Con Cadogan in relation to the dangerous driving causing death conviction of Theresa Naughton, 1 Inis Eagla, Shannon.
This refusal was made following a request made by The Clare Champion to release the contents of this report under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.
In the course of its review, the OIC wrote to the Department of Justice and stated a “page from section one appears to be missing”.
In reply, the department stated that “everything we have has been provided to the OIC”. It stated that when it received the report, it immediately transmitted to the Independent Review Mechanism (IRM) “without perusing the contents”.
“It Deprtment of Justice stated the contents of this report were examined for the first time in the context of this FOI request”.
Theresa Naughton pleaded guilty and was convicted of dangerous driving causing death of Danny Glynn on June 29, 2003 at Ennis Circuit Criminal Court on April 15, 2005.
Ms Naughton has called on Minister Flanagan to review this matter make the necessary page available to the OIC.
Back in 2006 when the report into the garda investigation was first sanctioned, Ms Naughton said she was told in her home by a senior garda that if any page of the report was missing it would be a “miscarriage of justice”.
She criticised the department for sending a report about this investigation on to the IRM “without perusing its contents”.
“There should be no page missing from any report. When any review is carried out it should contain all pages. This is totally unacceptable. Minister Flanagan needs to act to find the missing page and restore it to the report,” she said.
She criticised the OIC for making its decision on the basis there was one page missing as the information contained in this page could have resulted in the OIC making a decision to grant the release of the report.
Responding to Clare Champion queries, an OIC spokesperson said in any review by the OIC it is required to examine the record(s) held by the particular public body to whom the FOI request is made.
“In this case the report held by the Department of Justice was missing a page. However, the OIC was required to make a decision on the version of the report as held by the department. The issue of whether the Department should have ensured that the report contained all its pages before it sent the report to the IRM, or whether An Garda Síochána should have checked the report’s contents before it sent it to the Department, are matters for the Department and An Garda Síochána,” he said.
By Dan Danaher