Family calls for apology and inquiry into failure to properly investigate father’s death

The family of a man who was unlawfully killed in Churchill over 10 years ago have called on gardai to offer a public apology for failing to investigate their father’s death properly.

In a statement issued through Madden & Finucane Solicitors, the children of Seamus Doherty say last week’s inquest into his death highlighted serious systemic failures on the part of gardai during the vital early stages of the investigation.

On Friday last, the inquest into the death of Seamus Doherty concluded that he died from an unlawful killing, with the cause of death found to be strangulation.

Mr Doherty’s body was found at his home June 17th 2012 by Gardai when there were four other people in the house at the time.

Despite gardai reporting the death as suspicious, the scene was not established as a crime scene for two full days, and the jury criticised the Gardai for not treating the other people in the house as suspects.

In today’s statement, Conor Moylan, of Madden & Finucane says the family are actively considering legal options to ensure the jury’s recommendations are fully implemented.

He says they are calling on an Garda Síochána to give a full public apology, and will be calling on the Minister for Justice for a public inquiry.

Thus far, the statement concludes, there have been no consequences, and an individual has got away with murder in Donegal.

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The jury in the case made recommendations in three areas –

Communication
1. An Garda Síochána should ensure that crime scene logs are recorded electronically in
real time, and shared an updated by the relevant personnel as events develop.
2. All information gathering from witness suspects should be conducted individually and
privately.
Recognition of Evidence
3. Gardai should be trained in the collection and importance of potential forensic
evidence, regardless of any preceding interactions.
Practices
4. Additional training is required so that gardai who attend a scene treat each witness as
a suspect regardless of their relationship to the deceased.
5. An Garda Siochana should alert the state pathologist immediately for any level of
suspicion.
6. All personnel should be responsible for the upkeep of their equipment and arrive on
scene fully equipped.
7. It would be good practice for gardai to request, on a voluntary basis, any additional
materials of witnesses/suspects (e.g. forensic evidence).
8. It would be best practice if all gardai were trained and aware of the procedures and
limitations of local and state pathologists.
9. The pathologist should be fully briefed on the circumstances surrounding the events
prior to the acceptance of the remains.

Statement in full –

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