herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Alan Shatter bid against Guerin Report fails

courts

Former Justice Minister Alan Shatter
Former Justice Minister Alan Shatter

FORMER Justice Minister Alan Shatter has lost a High Court bid to quash parts of a report concerning his handling of allegations by garda whistleblower, Sgt Maurice McCabe.

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan said he could not see how Mr Shatter, as a member of the Government that decided to obtain and publish the report, "can complain of the consequences".

The report into the handling by relevant public bodies of the McCabe allegations was compiled by barrister Sean Guerin.

It involved an expression of expert opinion, was "legally sterile" and Mr Shatter's complaints appeared, in reality, to concern its publication and later political consequences, the judge said.

Nowhere in Mr Shatter's evidence did he appear to say the report's conclusions were in fact wrong and, if so, why, the judge noted.

explanation

Mr Shatter must also have appreciated that the absence of documents in his depart- ment relevant to any investigation of Sgt McCabe's comp- laints called for an explanation but he had "offered none".

The "principal focus" of Mr Shatter's case was an attempt to prevent the Commission of Investigation from investigating Mr Shatter's role in relation to Sgt McCabe's complaints, he said.

While that was "now a fait accompli", Mr Shatter "still seeks to curtail the investigation by undermining the conclusions on which it is based".

In his proceedings against Mr Guerin, Mr Shatter challenged sections of the May 2014 report compiled by Mr Guerin after his review of the handling of the McCabe allegations.

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