It is now 2 years to the day since Stephen Kershaw told the world of his relationship with the garda who ‘investigated’ his allegations of sexual assault. There is no need to report here what Stephen Kershaw said of this relationship as it is already deeply embedded in the public consciousness. Because the two organisations which could have immediately confirmed these events – the gardaí and One in Four – have consistently refused to support Stephen Kershaw’s version of events must be highly suspect.
The recent establishment of a corruption unit within the gardaí which is to investigate inappropriate contact with vulnerable victims has its first case but what the gardaí have not been doing for the past 2 years is hardly encouraging. The whole world sees the conundrum facing the gardaí. Whichever way they jump they plunge into disaster. If the gardaí support Stephen Kershaw’s version of events it will be proof that they are a one-sided, partial and biased police force. It proves they lost their independence and became the private investigators for one party. A cursory glance at how this case was (non) ‘investigated’ proves this.
Two examples will suffice: After Stephen Kershaw made a statement of complaint in the offices of One in Four – a dubious practice in itself – the gardaí were in possession of contradictory versions of events from the same person. On what basis did the investigating garda accept one over the other? He should at that point have been cautious – if not downright suspicious. And then later when a so called ‘diary’ was produced by a proven liar the gardaí accepted it at face value. Now if the gardaí are going to take sides from the beginning and become partial and biased investigators on behalf of complainants should not those against whom (highly) suspect allegations are made not have the same legal powers as the gardaí, such as to arrest and detain for 12 hours, subject to intense and one-sided questioning, obtain phone and cctv records? And all this paid for by the tax-payer.
We hear the usual big lie from One in Four that those against whom allegations are made have more rights than those making the complaints. Well, as can be seen, the so called ‘suspects’ do not have the lawful police force of the State working exclusively on their behalf as the so called ‘victims’ do. If the gardaí don’t support Stephen Kershaw – should the gardaí reject Stephen Kershaw’s version of events we have the extraordinary spectacle that the gardaí and the DPP who presented him to a jury as a reliable and credible witness, on whose uncorroborated evidence convictions were obtained, are now contradicting Stephen Kershaw on a critical issue central to the investigation.
It is easy to see why the gardaí remain silent. But by doing so they cast a slur not only on the gardaí in general but particularly on the individual involved in the case. This is hardly the exemplary behaviour by a public force that wants to be seen as ‘ethical’ and ‘healthy’. By staying silent the gardaí do something more insidious. They allow a grave miscarriage of justice to continue. This is not worthy of a modern police force that continuously claims to be upholding the rule.