Barrister says 'citizens should be terrified' after trial collapses over accuracy of Garda pulse system

By David Raleigh

A criminal trial has collapsed after the State said it could "not vouch for the accuracy" of information recorded on the Garda pulse system relevant to parties involved in the case.

A "lengthy" investigation is to be conducted into the matter, gardaí told the court.

The prosecution said: "It can't be said (it) is accurate".

Commenting on the seriousness of the matter, the accused's barrister said that criminals or suspected criminals were not the only people whose details appeared on pulse.

Indicating that ordinary law abiding citizens could be open to similar "errors", the accused's barrister added: "The ordinary citizens of this country should be terrified in their beds at this development."

The matter arose after one of the parties involved in the case disputed the accuracy of personal information recorded on pulse.

The prosecution said it had emerged that a pulse ID relating to one of the parties appeared to have been "merged" with another person.

Gardaí agreed it appeared an "error" on pulse had been made.

A garda witness gave evidence that this information appeared to be for "a different person entirely".

Asked by the prosecution if gardaí could "vouch for its accuracy", the witness responded: "No".

The garda agreed during cross examination by the accused's barrister that the personal details of "civic minded" members of the public would appear on pulse.

This included valid gun licence holders or eye witnesses reporting road traffic collisions.

The garda also agreed with the accused's barrister that "there now appears to be a problem with the accuracy of the pulse system".

The garda also agreed "ordinary citizens walking the streets don't know if there's an accurate record on them on pulse".

The garda acknowledged: "There can be problems with pulse."

The garda also agreed with the accused's barrister that, "as a matter of law, if (the pulse information) is not accurate, it is not worth the paper it is written on"

Commenting on the impending investigation into the accuracy of the pulse information, the prosecution said "lengthy enquiries will have to made".

The probe will likely take a number of weeks or months to "untangle the (pulse) records", the garda said.

This will include contacting court personnel, as well as sourcing court orders, charge sheets, and contacting members of the force.


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