Judgment reserved on Shatter challenge to whistleblower report

Wants orders quashing sections of the May 2014 report compiled by Seán Guerin

A High Court judge has reserved his decision on an action by former minister for justice Alan Shatter aimed at quashing certain parts of a report concerning his handling of allegations made by Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe. Photograph: Courts Collins

A High Court judge has reserved his decision on an action by former minister for justice Alan Shatter aimed at quashing certain parts of a report concerning his handling of allegations made by Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe. Photograph: Courts Collins

 

A High Court judge has reserved his decision on an action by former minister for justice Alan Shatter aimed at quashing certain parts of a report concerning his handling of allegations made by Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe.

Having heard closing arguments from both sides yesterday, Mr Justice Séamus Noonan said he was reserving judgment. Mr Shatter was in court throughout the three-day hearing.

In the judicial review proceedings against barrister Seán Guerin, Mr Shatter wants orders quashing sections of the May 2014 report compiled by Mr Guerin after his review of the handling by the relevant public bodies of Sgt McCabe’s allegations.

Mr Shatter claims Mr Guerin made a number of “highly critical” findings concerning his handling of those allegations, leaving Mr Shatter with no alternative but to resign as minister on May 7th, 2014, the day after the report was published.

Mr Guerin denies any unfairness in his report or in the manner he carried out his review and said his report contained “observations”, not conclusions, based on documents provided by the Department of Justice. The disputed aspects of the report include statements by Mr Guerin that the minister had accepted the response of the commissioner to the McCabe complaints “without question”.

The report also said the process of determining Sgt McCabe’s complaints went no further than the minister receiving and acting upon the advice of the then Garda commissioner Martin Callanan, “the very individual who was the subject of the complaint”.

Mr Guerin said his “observation” in the report there was no independent investigation of Sgt McCabe’s complaints was “an objective description” of the relevant information voluntarily provided by the minister.

Patrick O’Reilly SC, for Mr Shatter, said the former minister was given no notice by Mr Guerin that “conclusions” “impacting heavily” on his good name would be reached in this “unfair” report.