Computer analysis backlog leading to dismissed cases

Mark Toland
Mark Toland, deputy chief inspector of the Garda Inspectorate

A backlog of computers and other technology which have been seized for forensic analysis is contributing to court delays and case dismissals, the Garda Inspectorate has admitted.

The Changing Policing in Ireland report, published today, acknowledges that the shortcomings were “identified many years ago as a significant organisational risk” and “should have been addressed at a much earlier stage”.

Prosecutions for serious offences have been dismissed due to the extent of the backlog, which the report says has “reached periods of up to four years”.

Mark Toland, deputy chief inspector of the Garda Inspectorate, said at a briefing on the report: “It has affected prosecutions and some cases have been dismissed in court because of the long examination.”

He added: “It is not an issue the Garda Síochána are ignoring - they are well aware of it.”

According to the report, additional resources have been provided but the situation “is still unresolved”.

It adds: “In the case of the , years of inaction resulted in the serious deficiency in the capacity of the unit to examine exhibits and this seriously impacted on the timeliness of criminal investigations.

“As part of this review, the Inspectorate has recommended changes to the CCIU in terms of merging with the Technical Bureau and deployment of CCIU resources at a regional level.

“If this risk had been managed at a much earlier stage, it would have removed the impact that has occurred, including long delays in investigations and the dismissal of cases at court.”

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