Judge orders doctor to give evidence about suspended garda

THE doctor treating Detective Sergeant John White has been summoned to appear before the Morris Tribunal this morning after Mr Justice Frederick Morris said he was not satisfied the witness was unable to appear.

His solicitor had told the tribunal that Det White would not be able to appear for the foreseeable future after being hospitalised. The suspended senior officer did not turn up at the resumed hearing into garda corruption yesterday morning.

In written correspondence, consultant psychiatrist Dr Louis O’Carroll told the tribunal that Det Sgt White was taking residential treatment on his medical advice.

However, Justice Frederick Morris said he was not satisfied the witness was unable to appear before the hearing.

He summoned Dr O’Carroll to give oral medical evidence this morning.

Det Sgt John White was found in the latest reports of the tribunal to have planted a firearm at a halting site in Burnfoot and to be responsible for an explosive being planted at a telecommunications mast in Ardara, both in Donegal.

The findings were published just a few weeks after Mr White was acquitted during a criminal trial of planting the shotgun at the Traveller encampment.

His solicitor Paudge Dorrian told the tribunal his client was now unfit to respond to outstanding allegations against him.

He stressed he was not seeking an adjournment.

Tribunal barrister Peter Charleton SC said a number of witnesses with serious medical problems had been able to give evidence in the past.

Justice Morris said it had been a striking feature of the tribunal the number of witnesses citing psychiatric conditions as a reason for not giving testimony.

He said there were means and ways of addressing the problems.

“If it be the case that by moving the tribunal to the institution in which Sgt White is resident at the moment — if that is the solution to the problem — then the tribunal will move there,” he said.

“If evidence by way of video-link is the answer, then we will address that also.”

Det Sgt White had made a lengthy statement addressing many of the allegations against him, but he has yet to deal with two outstanding matters, according to Justice Morris.

These are that he broke wind or farted in Roisín McConnell’s face while interrogating her and that he manhandled or pushed her during garda interviews.

He said it would not be an enormous strain on anybody to deny such allegations, if he wanted to.

He could see no reason to justify postponing the tribunal.

Later, John Dooley, formerly a detective garda before retiring from the force on August 13, said he stood over his earlier evidence to the tribunal in July.

The present module of the tribunal is investigating the detention of Ms McConnell during an investigation into the death of cattle dealer Richie Barron.

More in this section

War of Independence Podcast

A special four-part series hosted by Mick Clifford

Available on
www.irishexaminer.com/podcasts

Commemorating 100 years since the War of Independence