It is the official (secret) policy of the Garda Síochána to instruct its members to tell the complainants in sexual cases that they are being believed and to repeat this assurance over and over again until the point of conviction which is usually obtained on uncorroborated evidence.

This appears to be the case because the Garda Authorities have been reluctant to say whether the garda who took Stephen Kershaw’s statement in May 2008, which directly contradicted his statement of August 2000, who repeatedly told Stephen Kershaw that he was being believed, was acting on a ‘frolic’ of his own or whether he was implementing a secret policy. The published policy of the Garda Authorities is not to be judgemental — there lies the contradiction.

All persons who are suspected of sexual crimes need to be forewarned of this double standard. The public face of the gardaí is to be impartial and to investigate objectively and the private practice is for investigating gardaí to be instructed to be partial and biased.

Thus suspects are lulled into a false sense of security. They may never discover the insidious garda practices until after conviction and then only by accident.

Every person charged with a sexual crime should ask the DPP has this assurance been given to the complaint(s) in their case so that this issue can be raised before or during their trial.

The reason this warning is necessary is that the garda who told Stephen Kershaw that he was being believed (despite contradictory statements) is still investigating sexual offences.

So the advice is offered: ASK THE DPP!