Lyons inquiry - Authorities must act on force failings

It is ironic that on the day that the Garda Commissioner should choose to respond to the Morris reports, another into the case of a man wrongfully charged with the murders of two women was published.

While the Commission of Investigation into the Dean Lyons case found there was no deliberate attempt to undermine his rights, it is impossible to escape the level of ineptitude illustrated in this instance.

Dean Lyons was a homeless drug addict who confessed to the killings of two women at St Brendan’s psychiatric hospital in Grangegorman, in March of 1997.

Another man, who was being questioned about a separate set of killings, had confessed to the crime only to later withdraw this confession.

Despite the fact that some of the gardaí who interviewed Dean Lyons “openly expressed scepticism as to his credibility,” as the commission found, these doubts were not conveyed to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) as they should have been.

For Dean Lyons such incompetence could have led to a miscarriage of justice because the garda written records of the interview with him were incomplete and potentially misleading.

It has to be wondered that in the absence of the scrutiny of people like the sole member of the Commission George Bermingham SC, and Morris, as independent experts, how many other innocent people have been subjected to garda errors.

It is totally inadequate that Michael McDowell now avers that the report would be “some comfort” to those whose lives had been so afflicted by this tragedy.

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