The Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform, Mr Brian Lenihan T.D., has today published a detailed summary of the report of the Statutory Inquiry into the arrest and detention of Brian Rossiter in September 2002.
The summary contains all of Mr Hartnett’s findings and conclusions relating to the Inquiry's terms of reference.
The Minister said "I welcome Mr Hartnett’s report and I accept its findings. The Inquiry sat for 77 days and heard the evidence of 99 witnesses. Its report constitutes a detailed examination of the circumstances surrounding the arrest and detention of Brian Rossiter. While publication of the report in full has not been possible for legal reasons, I hope that the comprehensive summary which I am publishing today, containing extensive extracts from the report, will facilitate a clear understanding of the events leading up to Brian’s tragic death. While I am constrained in what I can say due to ongoing litigation, and while I am mindful of the inquest currently under way, clearly these findings must now be studied carefully to see what lessons need to be learned, and how best to deal with any similar circumstances in the future."
The Inquiry found that, while the arrest of Brian Rossiter was lawful, his detention was unlawful, notwithstanding that his father consented to it. The Inquiry found that there was a failure to observe properly certain procedural requirements of regulations governing custody in Garda stations, in particular a failure to record accurately the time at which Brian Rossiter was given information relating to his rights while in custody. The Inquiry was not satisfied, however, that Brian Rossiter was assaulted in the course of arrest or while he was in custody. On the question of the information given to ambulance and medical personnel, including the State Pathologist, the Inquiry found no evidence that there was an attempt made to mislead medical personnel wrongfully with incorrect information. The Inquiry did find, however, that there was a failure to investigate all the circumstances surrounding the death of Brian Rossiter.
A full copy of the report has been made available to the Rossiter family in the context of ongoing civil proceedings, and copies of the full report have also been furnished to the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Cork City Coroner, and the Garda Commissioner.
The Garda Commissioner will be making a separate statement in response to the findings of the Inquiry.
The Report is available on the Department’s website – www.justice.ie.
11 April 2008
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Brian Rossiter Inquiry
In September 2005, an independent statutory inquiry process was established by the Minister of Justice, Equality and Law Reform pursuant to Section 12 of the Dublin Police Act 1924. The inquiry examined the circumstances surrounding the late Brian Rossiter's arrest, detention and treatment in Clonmel Garda Station in September 2002.
Terms of Reference
The Inquiry was asked to inquire into whether there was a violation or neglect of duty in relation to the following issues:
1. That the arrest of Brian Rossiter of 11 Mount Prospect, Clonard, County Wexford in Clonmel on the 10th day of September 2002 was unlawful;
2. That the said Brian Rossiter was unlawfully assaulted during the course of his arrest and detention;
3. That the Criminal Justice Act 1984 (Treatment of Persons in Custody in Garda Síochána Stations) Regulations 1987 (S.I. No. 119/1987) were infringed in relation to the detention of the said Brian Rossiter
4. That the detention in Clonmel Garda Station of the said Brian Rossiter was unlawful;
5. That ambulance personnel, medical personnel and/or Dr. Marie Cassidy were wrongfully given incorrect information concerning the consumption of alcohol and drugs by the said Brian Rossiter;
6. That all the circumstances of the death of the said Brian Rossiter were not fully investigated and all witnesses were not interviewed.
Mr. Hugh Hartnett, S.C., was appointed on 14 September, 2005 to conduct the inquiry. The inquiry was held in private, and upon completion Mr. Hartnett reported to the Minister with his findings and conclusions.