“there is no corresponding organisation to monitor the work of the Ombudsman…”

It’s not just the Republic who has problems with ‘who guards the guards’. There are two worrying stories on the same day concerning the activities of the Police Ombudsman’s office.

One concerns a criminal case which the Judge is reported to have said:

…failings in the investigation “resulted in it being impossible for the defendants to receive a fair trial”.

He said weaknesses in the investigative process meant it “would offend the court’s sense of justice and propriety to be asked to try the accused in the particular circumstances of the case.”

In particular, he expressed serious concern about a “deliberate error” by an investigator who made an inaccurate claim to one of the officers and their solicitor about the availability of mobile phone footage of the alleged incident.

“The court is left with considerable concern regarding the motivation for the investigator’s response and cannot exclude the possibility that it was designed to elicit a particular response,” he said.

“The Police Ombudsman (PONI) is charged with investigating the police and enjoys similar powers and responsibilities to the police.

“However, there is no corresponding organisation to monitor the work of the Ombudsman and its acts, errors and omissions instead fall to be scrutinised by the courts in applications such as the one under consideration.

“As the guard of the guards the actions of the Ombudsman must, in my judgement, be entirely above reproach.

“Its relationship with those under its scrutiny must be one of utmost good faith if it is to retain the confidence of our community.”

And another judge has suggested there has been mishandling of the Loughinisland case:

Mr Justice McCloskey said the authors of the Loughinisland report were “careless, thoughtless and inattentive in the language and structuring of the document”.

He also said the police officers deemed to have colluded with the gunmen were “in effect tried and convicted without notice in their absence”.

We are reader supported. Donate to keep Slugger lit!

For over 20 years, Slugger has been an independent place for debate and new ideas. We have published over 40,000 posts and over one and a half million comments on the site. Each month we have over 70,000 readers. All this we have accomplished with only volunteers we have never had any paid staff.

Slugger does not receive any funding, and we respect our readers, so we will never run intrusive ads or sponsored posts. Instead, we are reader-supported. Help us keep Slugger independent by becoming a friend of Slugger. While we run a tight ship and no one gets paid to write, we need money to help us cover our costs.

If you like what we do, we are asking you to consider giving a monthly donation of any amount, or you can give a one-off donation. Any amount is appreciated.