Gardaí could face damages over conduct in unsolved murder probe

An action for damages brought by a former tax inspector and his children against the State arising from the conduct of the garda investigation into the still unsolved murder of his wife in 1992 may take eight weeks, the High Court heard yesterday.

An action for damages brought by a former senior tax inspector with the Revenue Commissioners and his children against the State arising from the conduct of the garda investigation into the still unsolved murder of his wife in 1992 may take eight weeks, the High Court heard yesterday.

Mr James Livingstone (aged 70), who was in a senior position at the Revenue Commissioners claims gardaí were guilty of negligence and breach of duty in the management of the investigation into the brutal murder of Mrs Grace Livingstone.

The action is also being taken by his daughter, Ms Tara Beauchamp, and his son, Conor.

Mr Livingstone claims that he and his children suffered emotional distress. The State denies the allegations.

Today at the High Court Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill heard that the hearing could last up to eight weeks. The Judge adjourned the matter to on this month with a view to fixing a date for the hearing of the action.

Mr Livingstone, The Moorings, Malahide, Co Dublin, has stated that he came home from work on December 7, 1992, and found his wife lying bound, gagged and fatally injured, having been badly beaten and with a gunshot wound to the head.

Mr Livingstone, who worked in the investigation branch of the Revenue Commissioners, has always pleaded that he had no part in his wife's murder and claims he supplied gardaí with the names of possible suspects because he had investigated them for unlawful activities.

Mr Livingstone in his statement of claim said gardaí had told him he was hated at work because "all he ever did was sack people, and that his fellow employees had all cheered when they heard of his arrest, and that his fellow female employees were all terrified of him."

He also claims that gardaí said his neighbours were terrified of him and knew he treated his wife as a slave; that he trained youngsters to kill; that his daughter was a "whore" and that his son was a drug-abuser.

During the course of the garda interviews, he alleged one detective produced a newspaper carrying banner headlines of Mr Livingstone's arrest and also produced photographs of his murdered wife lying in the morgue which "depicted graphically the horrific facial and head injuries

she had suffered".

He alleges that while he was voluntarily assisting gardaí in their investigation on December 29, 1992, a detective sergeant called to his home and behaved in a "grossly abusive and insulting manner" towards his daughter.

Gardaí deny that Mr Livingstone fully assisted them in their investigation and deny that his "alleged innocence" or having no part in the murder of his wife were facts which ought reasonably to have been known to gardaí or ascertained by them.

In 2004 the High Court ruled that Mr Livingstone is entitled to obtain certain documents but not others related to the investigation of Mrs Livingstone's death in possession of the gardaí.

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