Edited report on Dublin abuse cleared for release

Fri, Nov 20, 2009, 00:00

THE HIGH Court has cleared the way for publication of most of the report on the the handling by Catholic Church and State authorities of child sex abuse allegations against clerics in the Dublin archdiocese.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan yesterday said publication could go ahead, except for reference in two chapters to specific persons, and all references to the same persons in the rest of the report.

Their identification might prejudice criminal proceedings, he said.

Last month Mr Justice Gilligan ruled the report could be published with the exception of chapter 19 and all references to a named person in that chapter.

Yesterday the judge made a similar order deleting all references to a named man, and that man’s brother, in chapter 20 and in other parts of the report.

He ruled that certain material in that chapter should not be published until further direction by the court.

He also ordered that the man and his brother can both only be referred to as Rev -; Fr -; or Mr -.

The judge said this additional order arose out of a decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions to issue warrants for the arrest of the man on October 2nd and 5th last. The DPP’s move came after the High Court last month heard submissions related to publication.

When the application for publication was made to the court on July 31st last, there were no criminal proceedings pending against anyone mentioned in this latest application, the judge noted.

It was only after he delivered his judgment on October 15th last on the July application that the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Dermot Ahern, was made aware that the DPP had issued warrants for the arrest of a man referred to in the report, the judge said.

This had led to the latest application by the Minister over concerns that publication of certain extracts would prejudice criminal proceedings against the man.

The court had to balance, in order of priority, the paramount importance of the right to a fair trial, the right of the DPP to prosecute and the public interest in publication, the judge said.

Having considered these factors, the judge said he had concluded that certain parts of the report might prejudice criminal proceedings.

He was therefore directing that all references that would identify the man and his brother should not be published until the court further directs.

He adjourned the issue of deferred publication of the now excluded material to May 5th next.

The commission of investigation report for the Dublin archdiocese deals with the handling of abuse allegations against a sample of 46 priests between 1975 and 2004 and was presented to the Minister, Mr Ahern, last July.

The commission, chaired by Judge Yvonne Murphy and assisted by barrister Ita Mangan and solicitor Hugh O’Neill, began its inquiry in March 2006.

After receiving its report, Mr Ahern, on advice from the Attorney General, sought directions on publication from the High Court.