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Witness statements must be video-recorded - O Snodaigh

5 April, 2006

The Justice Committee of the Dáil this afternoon discussed four amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill tabled by Sinn Féin TD, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, which would introduce mandatory videotaping in all Garda Stations and sanctions for any failure by the Gardai to comply.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "There is a rogue element within the Gardai and video-recording would help to protect against them.

"Video or digital recording in Garda Stations would protect the Gardai from allegations of abuse as much as it would protect all those in Garda detention. In this day and age with the technologies available we should be looking to ensure that recording is operating in all Garda stations, in particular video-recording of witness interrogations but also of all areas in Garda stations. We are also attempting to ensure that the corridors of Garda stations be taped as well. Because it is here that beatings occur that result in vulnerable people signing confessions for crimes they didn't commit."

The Dublin South Central TD argued that, "the admissions of Detective Sgt. White to the Morris Tribunal in recent days describing the routine practices of hard and tough interrogations that disregard the manual on interrogation techniques demonstrate the urgency of Sinn Fein's proposal."

Speaking afterwards Deputy Ó Snodaigh welcomed the Ministers agreement to revisit his proposal for a new Garda power to issue their own search warrants, on foot of amendments tabled by himself and the Labour Party spokesperson Joe Costello earlier in the day.

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