Policy of garda interviews without solicitors challenged

Garda is not entitled to apply ‘blanket policy’ preventing solicitors being present during questioning

“A blanket policy” of preventing solicitors being present during interviews  is being challenged in relation to the case of a 17-year-old youth suspected of drug dealing

“A blanket policy” of preventing solicitors being present during interviews is being challenged in relation to the case of a 17-year-old youth suspected of drug dealing

 

The Garda is not entitled to apply “a blanket policy” preventing solicitors being present during interviews with suspects about alleged offences, it has been claimed in the High Court.

The policy is being challenged in relation to the case of a 17-year-old youth suspected of drug dealing whose solicitor was refused permission to sit in during a Garda interview with him. The youth, said to have severe mental health and behavioural difficulties, was arrested last Thursday week but freed within hours after his lawyers brought a High Court application.

The court heard he was detained for questioning on suspicion of possession of more than €13,000 worth of drugs for supply, an offence carrying a mandatory 10-year sentence.

The sergeant in charge of the station refused to allow his solicitor sit in on the interview, saying his mother would be present and would be free to contact the lawyer during it.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan was asked to declare, in this case, that the youth had a right to have a lawyer present during interview.

The State opposed the application and said any such issues could be dealt with at trial, if there was any trial, via a consideration as to whether fair procedures were used at interview. The case resumes next week.