Vincent Browne has taken this story to heart. It is an extremely serious incident, and one that I believe people do not know enough about. In fact it’s not extremely serious, it’s blatantly and completely unbelievable that this could happen in any country that claims to be a democracy.
The long and short of it is, that in 2002 in Clonmel, a 14 year old boy went into a Garda cell and came out of it dead.
There are very serious inconsistencies in this story, that would lead a reasonable person to call for a fully independent investigation into the circumstances of the death of Brian Rossiter.
But the arms of the State do not see it that way. There are extremely serious questions to be asked of the behaviour of the Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell. Various things about this story could shock a reasonable person, but to me, what is most shocking is the behaviour of An Garda Siochana and the Minister.
Brian Rossiter was involved in a row with an older man in the town around September 8th, 2002, during which he received a black eye. He was also complaining of headaches.
Two days later he was arrested and taken into custody on suspicion of having committed public order offences following the breaking of windows in the town.
His father Pat Rossiter said he consented to his son being held overnight in custody at the time because he felt that a “short, sharp shock” would teach him a lesson.
Gardaí told him Brian had overdosed on alcohol and ecstasy, but two toxicology tests showed no alcohol or drugs in his system.
So prima facia the Gardai lied to the family. It is also illegal for a 14 year old to be held in a Garda cell overnight. Brian was taken from the cell in a coma, and died after having his life support machine switched off.
There are reasonable grounds for an independent, non-Garda investigation into the circumstances of someone becoming comatose in Garda custody and subsequently dying. More importantly when that person was a minor.
I will be coming back to this story following the outrageous comments of Mae Sexton (PD) on the VB show last night. This has also been posted on my corruption in Ireland weblog.