Report into sex abuse cases sent back to court

 

THE REPORT into the handling by Church and State authorities of allegations of the abuse of children by Catholic priests in the Dublin Archdiocese is to be referred back to the High Court.

Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern, on advice from the Attorney General, has instructed department counsel to return to the High Court as quickly as possible to clarify issues which have arisen following further discussion on the report by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the Attorney General (AG) and at the Department of Justice.

It means that the Commission of Investigation, Dublin Archdiocese report will not now be published this week.

The report was cleared for publication in the High Court last Thursday by Mr Justice Paul Gilligan subject to 22 specified deletions. Further concerns about its content are understood to have arisen at the office of the DPP later last week.

These have been under discussion over recent days with the AG’s office and with Department of Justice officials

The primary concern of all involved is that nothing in the published report should inhibit possible legal actions against any alleged perpetrators of abuse dealt with in it.

The further hearing at the High Court is being sought to address this matter.

In his judgement on Thursday Mr Justice Gilligan excluded from publication, at least until May 5th next, chapter 19 of the report as well as 21 other references in it, all of which dealt with the same man and who is currently before the courts.

His trial is scheduled to begin in April 2010.

At hearings held in private on October 1st and 2nd last, Mr Justice Gilligan heard submissions on the report from the DPP, the Attorney General, and representatives of those against whom criminal proceedings are pending.

He heard further submissions at another hearing held in private last Thursday before delivering his judgement in public that afternoon.

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

It presented its report to the Minister for Justice last July. On advice from the AG Paul Gallagher, he sent it to the High Court.