Mar 252014
 

Read this:

The court held that the practice engaged in by the gardaí at Waterford Garda Station of recording all incoming and outgoing calls on a particular phone line was in breach of the relevant statute on the recording of telephone communications, which requires that at least one of the parties to a phone call has consented to its being recorded.

This requirement was deemed to have not been met on this occasion.

The court ruled that the evidence obtained in those calls was inadmissible. On consideration of the ruling of the court the Garda Commissioner may wish to re-evaluate his practice regarding the recording of such calls and the consents required if it is to be permissible to use such recordings in evidence.

(Emphasis added)

Was this the evidence that exploded onto Enda Kenny’s desk at the weekend and caused him to announce the setting up of a commission of inquiry?

garda taping phone calls scandalWell, no, actually.  The quote is taken from a GSOC report dated June 2013, and yet it was not until March 2014 that the government became aware of the practice, which is all the more remarkable since the report concerns the criminal trial of four gardai on assault charges.  You can read the full text at the end of this post.

What was happening, it seems, is that the Gardai were recording phone conversations between prisoners and their lawyers or friends, without informing them.  If it can be shown that they relied on information gained in this manner to gather evidence, there is a possibility that many criminals might be able to have their convictions overturned as well as many innocent people.

Understandably, the legal profession is whirling like a Dervish over this and in truth, the implications are staggering.

It appears that an Garda Síochána has systematically, for decades, trampled on the constitutional rights of accused people, in a manner not unlike the methods of a  comic-book secret police force.  If, as alleged, the practice has been going on for 30 years, Callinan cannot have been unaware of it.

It also seems clear that neither Callinan nor any civil servant alerted Alan Shatter to this assault on constitutional democracy by our national police force until two weeks ago.

Why?  Nobody knows, but can there be any doubt now that our policing model is long  past its sell-by date and that the entire force needs to be radically restructured from the ground up and the top down, PSNI-style?

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Elsewhere

Government statement

For Operational Reasons

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Download (PDF, 140KB)

  13 Responses to “GSOC Reported Illegal Taping at Garda Station in June 2013”

Comments (13)
  1.  

    “Galteri” Callinan, now retired, may hope to side step inevitable questions on phone tapping on his watch, mmm might work, it is Ireland after all.

  2.  

    In any change, terms and conditions will apply . . .

  3.  

    I think it’s safe to assume that, as usual, you will leave one comment and never return. Thanks for your support.

  4.  

    Callinan is in the clear alright. He hadn’t the guts to admit his “disgusting” comment was wrong so I won’t hold my breath in hoping he comes forward with the truth concerning illegal phone tapping. Our national police force has crumbled. There is no coming back from this for An Garda Siochana unless there is a total reform and sooner rather than later. Shatter resigning should be the start.

  5.  

    The Ombudsman Commission report indicates that it was the accused Gardaí’s conversations that had been recorded on ‘public lines’ as opposed to those of the arrested man (Anthony Holness).

    Is there further evidence of arrested person’s communications being recorded to your knowledge?

  6.  

    That’s what the whole thing is about.

  7.  

    You might be interested in another Garda story: http://ramblingrector.me/2014/03/26/an-garda-siochana/

  8.  

    Surely the legal profession are also at fault for discussing
    private matters on an open line ? Even the Americans were
    also listening !

  9.  

    No. They have a legitimate expectation that the line will not be illegally bugged.

  10.  

    You miss the point that in the Waterford trial, prior to the Court deciding that the recordings from the Garda station were inadmissable, GSOC and the DPP were actively trying to use them as evidence against the accused people.

  11.  

    You miss the point that in the Waterford trial, prior to the Court deciding that the recordings from the Garda station were inadmissable, GSOC and the DPP were actively trying to use them as evidence against the accused people. Hardly GSOC giving the impression of unearthing and report what they saw as an appalling breach of the law.

  12.  

    Does GSOC have a statutory role in prosecuting people? What is the legislative basis for that?

  13.  

    No, GSOC gathers evidence to present to the DPP to prosecute with. In this case, GSOC got hold of the recordings and passed them to the DPP as they appeared to comprise evidence of a probative nature. The DPP agreed and tried to bring same into court but this was objected to by the defence and the judge made a finding that they were inadmissable for the same reason that there is currently controversy surrounding such recordings. So both GSOC and the DPP, instead of being appalled with their discovery of such recordings, attempted to use them to further their case in this instance. Only when the judge made a finding about the recordings did they include a reference to that in their published report about the whole case, to which you refer in the article.

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