Rossiters criticise McDowell as full report into son's death not published

 

THE FAMILY of deceased 14- year-old Clonmel schoolboy Brian Rossiter were highly critical yesterday of the former minister for justice Michael McDowell for his decision to set up an inquiry into their son's arrest and detention under what they believe was the wrong Act.

A Department of Justice spokesman confirmed that the current Minister for Justice Brian Lenihan had received advice from the Attorney General, Paul Gallagher, that it would not be possible to publish the report in full.

However, an abridged version would be published that would carry the conclusions in full, said the spokesman, adding that it is expected that the abridged version of the report will be published within a matter of weeks.

Cian O'Carroll, solicitor for Pat and Siobhán Rossiter, said that the department's decision not to publish the full report into Brian's Rossiter's arrest and detention for legal reasons confirmed their belief that the inquiry was set up under the wrong act.

Brian Rossiter died after he was found unconscious in a cell at Clonmel Garda station on the morning of September 11th, 2002, following his arrest by gardaí at about 9.30pm on the previous night on suspicion of having committed a public order offence.

Mr O'Carroll said the family had expressed concerns back in 2005 to Mr McDowell that establishing the inquiry by senior counsel Hugh Hartnett under the 1924 Dublin Metropolitan Police Act would limit its scope and effectiveness.

He said Section 12 of the Dublin Metropolitan Police Act offers no powers to subpoena witnesses, offers no guidelines on the manner or conduct of the inquiry and offers no protection from the laws of defamation when the report is to be published, he said.

All these deficiencies are addressed by the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004 which allows for fast, cheap commissions of inquiry.