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Castlerock Murders Report Highlights Short-Comings in Powers of Ombudsman's Office

6 December, 2011 - by Raymond McCartney

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Raymond McCartney has welcomed the report by the Police Ombudsman’s Office into the Castlerock murder case but said it also showed the shortcomings in the office’s powers to compel retired police officers to come forward as witnesses.

The Vice-Chair of the Justice Committee said:

“Sinn Féin welcome the fact that the PSNI fully co-operated with the investigation and provided all material requested in a timely manner.

“A concern is that two police officers who were senior detectives central to the Castlerock murder investigation refused to provide formal witness statements to the investigators from the Police Ombudsman’s office. (Paragraph 5.5)

“The report also states that the whereabouts of some information relevant to the Police Ombudsman’s investigation is ‘currently unknown’ – including the original crime scene examination notes from a scene of the crime officer and forensic evidence gathered at the scene. (Paragraphs 5.21, 5.23, 5.82, 5.84, 5.85)

“There are also broader implications for the powers of the Police Ombudsman’s Office. The report concludes that no mis-conduct recommendations could be made by the Ombudsman’s Office because the officers involved are now retired or deceased. Neither could the senior detectives involved at the very heart of Castlerock investigation, be compelled to attend for interview. Paragraph 6.2)

“These deficiencies must be rectified if the Ombudsman’s Office is to become fully effective and that is why Sinn Féin called upon the Justice Minister to take the necessary action in our motion before the Assembly on November 28th,”

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