The Professionals

 Posted by on May 16, 2006  Add comments
May 162006
 

Pat Rossiter seems like a decent man. He’s a cultured and well-read person, by the sound of him, who speaks plainly, and articulately, without pretention but with great dignity. Pat Rossiter’s fourteen-year-old son, Brian, died in Garda custody in 2002. Pat Rossiter subsequently announced his intention to sue an Garda Siochana for the wrongful death of his son.

Brian was the same age as Bullet is now, and I understand something of his father’s anguish, so I would just like, briefly, to share with you some of the facts, if you don’t already know them.

In 2002, Brian Rossiter came home with a black eye and headaches after being attacked in Clonmel. Two days later he was arrested on a public order offence. His father received a phone call from the gardai asking him to come to the station where they told him that Brian had overdosed on drugs and alcohol. He was informed that his son had been on a drink and drugs binge for four or five days. He consented to his son being held overnight in custody because he felt a short, sharp shock would teach him a lesson. Pat Rossiter, unlike a Garda, is not a professional and therefore wouldn’t know that it is illegal to detain a child in this way. Nevertheless, the professional Gardai imprisoned the child anyway.

The following morning Brian was taken to hospital having been found comatose in the cell. Pat Rossiter received a phone call from the gardai to say Brian had gone cold turkey and was in withdrawal. He went to the hospital and met detectives who suggested to him that Brian had taken a lot of ecstasy and had overdosed. Police also advised doctors at the hospital that Brian had taken fifteen to seventeen ecstasy tablets, and later informed the State Pathologist that Brian had taken a large amount of drugs and alcohol. In reality, as subsequent tests showed, Brian Rossiter had no drugs or alcohol in his system, despite what the police told the hospital, his parents and the State pathologist. On the other hand, when admitted to hospital from police custody, the fourteen-year-old displayed symptoms consistent with having been punched or kicked in the groin.

Twelve months ago, while walking home peacefully with relatives, his father, Pat Rossiter, was also arrested on public order offences. Interestingly, this was by the same Guard who had been in charge of the station the night Brian died. He was thrown into the same cell his son had died in, where he had to spend an entire tortured night, and last week, the District Court dismissed the charges against him. The Judge said that the charges were groundless. In evidence, the arresting guard told the court that he did not know who Mr Rossiter was when he arrested him, even though Mr Rossiter is a well-known taxi driver in the town. He also stated that he was unaware of the case Mr Rossiter had taken against an Garda Siochana.

The Judge was highly critical of the Garda evidence against Mr Rossiter, and I will bring you further details of what he said when they come to hand.

It seems the Guards are big into arresting people on public order offences, wouldn’t you think?

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