The Minister for Justice and Law Reform, Mr Dermot Ahern T.D., has announced the establishment of an Advisory Committee on Garda Interviewing of suspects following recommendations of the Morris Tribunal.

It is important that the law and systems of interviewing are kept under continual review. The systems must be effective in tackling crime and ensure that the State meets its responsibility to provide fair procedures that uphold the highest standards of constitutional and natural justice.  

The Committee will oversee policy on interviews in Garda custody on an ongoing basis, including recommending changes in law and practice.

The Minister said "I am most grateful to the Honourable Mr Justice Esmond Smyth who has agreed to chair the Committee. He will bring considerable experience and expertise to the group. Judge Smyth previously chaired the group which oversaw the initial introduction of audio/visual recording in Garda Stations.

The Committee will be asked to keep under review the adequacy of the law, practice and procedure relating to the interviewing of suspects detained in Garda custody, taking into account evolving best international practice, and to advise myself and the Garda Commissioner on any changes that may be necessary. I would also like to thank the other eminent members of the Committee who have agreed so generously to lend their knowledge and experience to the group".   

The membership of the group is as follows:

• The Honourable Mr Justice Esmond Smyth, Chairperson
• Mr Martin Callinan, Deputy Commissioner, An Garda Síochána
• Ms Ruth Fitzgerald, Office of the Attorney General
• Mr Patrick Gageby SC, Bar Council
• Ms Claire Loftus, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
• Mr John Lohan, Department of Justice and Law Reform
• Mr James MacGuill, Law Society of Ireland
• Mr Roger Sweetman SC, Irish Human Rights Commission

13 July 2010

Notes for Editor 

Background

In the sixth report of the tribunal Mr Justice Morris made a range of recommendations including one that a Committee be established to oversee policy on interviews in Garda custody and changes in law and practice as required.

Terms of Reference

In light of Mr Justice Morris's recommendation the Minister determined the terms of reference for the advisory group on interviewing suspects as follows; the Committee will be asked "to keep under review the adequacy of the law, practice and procedure relating to the interviewing of suspects detained in Garda custody, taking into account evolving best international practice". The Committee will also advise the Minister and the Garda Commissioner on any changes that may be necessary.