Senior garda asked to investigate failure to enforce bail conditions on rapist
Review will establish lessons to be learned and whether changes to processes are needed
Eoin Berkley had been barred from Dublin city centre before raping a Spanish teenager. File photograph: Collins Courts
One of the most senior officers in the Garda has been asked to investigate a failure by the force to enforce bail conditions on a man sentenced to 14 years in prison for the abduction and rape of a Spanish teenager.
The review was welcomed by Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan who said he was “very concerned” about the enforcement of bail conditions in the case.
Assistant commissioner Pat Leahy has been appointed “to examine the policing issues raised during the court case which concluded on Thursday with the conviction and sentencing of Eoin Berkley, ” a Garda spokeswoman told The Irish Times.
“The assistant commissioner will examine issues such as communications between divisions in Dublin city centre and Garda monitoring of bail conditions of the convicted individual,” she said.
“The review will establish the lessons to be learned and whether changes to processes are needed.”
Berkley (25), from Finglas, Dublin, lured the 18-year-old, described in court as naïve and shy, from the city centre to a tent near a beach in Ringsend and repeatedly raped her over a 21-hour period, between July 15th and 16th, 2017.
Berkley had been barred from Dublin city centre nearly a year before after being released on bail for an alleged homophobic graffiti attack on a well-known gay bar. He was later acquitted on this charge.
Following his arrest for the abduction and rape, however, it emerged that Berkley had been seen four times in the city centre by gardaí in the weeks before the attack. Once, he was charged with offences under the Public Order Act.
A month before he attacked the Spanish student, a city centre-based Garda inspector ordered Berkley’s detention under the Mental Health Act. He was seen by a doctor, but was deemed fit for release.
Two days later, Berkley’s brother rang a Garda station, saying Berkley must be detained. However, gardaí told him there was no basis for this detention and advised the brother to seek medical care for Berkley.
The Minister yesterday said he looked forward “ to seeing the result of the review and lessons learned – if there are issues pertaining to the practice and procedures of An Garda Síochána, they need to be dealt with” .
Legislation in the area was “always under review”, he said, adding if any change was necessary he would be “happy to have a look at it”.
However, Mr Flanagan said without preempting the upcoming review, the issue “seems more in the area of practice and procedure” of gardaí.
Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan yesterday said the case once again highlights the dangers associated with the violation of bail conditions.
“Unfortunately, this is not the first time that failure to enforce bail conditions has resulted in tragic consequences. Fianna Fáil introduced legislation last year to make our bail laws stricter so that the presumption would be that a person who had already been convicted of a serious offence would not get bail if charged with another serious offence.
He urged the Government to strengthen the bail law and said breaching bail conditions must have “ immediate and serious consequences”.