The Events of 19th and 20th April, 2000
SECTION A — Prior to the Arrival of the Gardaı´
Mrs. Rose Carthy told the Tribunal that her son got up on 19th April, 2000 at 10:00 a.m. While they did not talk that morning, she described him as being ‘‘in good form’’. He did not leave the house during the day and was, she said, listening to the radio and watching television. They remained alone in the house until Mrs. Carthy left in circumstances described below, sometime before 5:00 p.m.
At lunchtime Marie Carthy telephoned her brother on four occasions from a public telephone near where she worked in Galway. She kept getting cut off, which explained the number of calls. Her brother was, she said, ‘‘messing’’ with her on the phone, telling her that he had a bottle of whiskey and was ‘‘going drinking’’. Marie Carthy stated that she knew he was not going drinking because drink was not kept in the house.
Mrs. Carthy stated that John Carthy got somewhat agitated or upset during the course of the afternoon, sometime between 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. There was a discussion between them regarding moving to the new house. He stated, she said, that no one was going to put him out of his house. Mrs. Carthy could not recall whether he ‘‘believed’’ that someone was going to ‘‘put him out’’ of his house but he was, she said, against the demolition of the old house. She recalled that her son had stated several times ‘‘during the year’’ that no one was going to put him out of the house, that he would remain in the old house and that she would move to the new one. This, she said, was similar to the plan which he had in 1998. See the reference to the letter dated 25th August, 1998 to the local authority drafted by John Carthy regarding retention of the original house — Chapter 3, section A.
Mrs. Carthy confirmed that the new house had just been finished and they were awaiting a power connection. There was no particular date set for the move. She told the Tribunal that this was the only topic she could remember them discussing.
The first shots are discharged
In her evidence Mrs. Carthy recounted that shortly after 4:00 p.m. her son, without saying anything, went to the locker in the hall where his gun was kept. He got the gun out of the locker and brought it back to the kitchen. He repeated that ‘‘no one would put him out of the house, he was staying in it all the time’’. He then proceeded outside the house and discharged his weapon. Mrs. Carthy did not see where he went and could not remember how many shots he discharged. He spent a few minutes outside the house. According to Mrs. Carthy, her son had never acted like this previously. When he came back into the house he ‘‘just said hello’’. He sat down in the kitchen and then he told her to go to her sister up the road for a visit. Mrs. Carthy had no further discussion with him. He did not say why he wanted her to go out. This was, she said, the only occasion when he had ever asked her to leave the house. She stated that she agreed to go up to her sister. He then said ‘‘good luck’’ or ‘‘goodbye’’. While she did not recall whether the gun was loaded or unloaded when he came back into the kitchen, at the time that he asked her to go to her sister’s house, he had not reloaded his gun. It was broken open and had not been reloaded. He left the box of cartridges on the table. Mrs. Carthy then left for her sister Nancy Walsh’s house. She stated in evidence she was afraid that, having the gun, he would harm himself.
Mrs. Carthy goes to Nancy Walsh’s house
Shortly after 5:00 p.m. Ms Ann Walsh was collected from work by Ms Alice Farrell. She proceeded to Abbeylara to see her mother, Nancy Walsh. On arrival at her mother’s house, she heard noises, which she subsequently discovered were two shots. She thought that these came from ‘‘Burke’s next door’’ and was not startled by them. As she was in the house talking to her mother, there was a knock at the door. It was her aunt, Mrs. Carthy, whom she described as being ‘‘hysterical’’ and crying. Ms Walsh instantly thought of the two shots and asked Mrs. Carthy what was wrong. She asked, ‘‘is it John?’’ Her aunt confirmed that it was her son, and that he had a gun. Ms Walsh stated in evidence that Mrs. Carthy was afraid that ‘‘John would shoot himself’’ but she did not tell her anything about the background to what had occurred. Ms Walsh became alarmed. She believed, although she could not be 100% sure of this, that Mrs. Carthy thought John would ‘‘blow his brains out, but not that John had said it’’. When her aunt settled, she told them that her son had told her to come up to Mrs. Walsh’s for a few hours and not to worry about him.
The contents of a statement made by Mrs. Nancy Walsh to the effect that ‘‘he told Rose to go up to me for a couple of hours and the first garda to come was going to get it’’ were put to Mrs. Carthy. In evidence Mrs. Carthy stated that she could not remember that discussion and stated that her son made no reference to the gardaı´ before she left the house. She also stated in evidence that she did not tell anybody in the Walsh household that her son had put her out of the house. She reiterated in evidence ‘‘He didn’t put me out of the house.’’ She confirmed, however, that she was very upset and agreed that the people in the house were worried.
Contacts with the Garda
Ms Walsh told the Tribunal that Mrs. Carthy believed that the gardaı´should be called. At 5:20 p.m. Ms Walsh picked up the telephone to ring the gardaı´ but rang her sister Mrs. Rosaleen Mahon in error. She then dialled the number of Granard garda station and handed the phone to Mrs. Carthy who spoke to a garda for a few minutes. This was Garda Maeve Gorman.
Mrs. Carthy informed Garda Gorman that her son had taken his gun out and that she was concerned and afraid that he would harm himself. She confirmed that Garda Gorman may have been given the impression that she, Rose Carthy, had been ‘‘put out of the house’’ and further accepted that it would have been reasonable for Garda Gorman to interpret Mrs. Carthy’s communication in that way.
According to Ms Walsh, Mrs. Carthy was not making much sense. Her aunt then handed the phone back to her and she spoke to Garda Gorman and informed her that she thought that John Carthy had put his mother out of the house: ‘‘I think I just wanted to get the gardaı´ out quickly to take care of John’’. She informed the garda that he had a gun, that he had fired shots and that he was a manic-depressive.
After a few moments, Ms Walsh became concerned that gardaı´ had not arrived immediately and she was, she stated, ‘‘terrified that John was going to shoot himself’’. She subsequently telephoned the garda station once again and informed Garda Gorman that she was anxious that the gardaı´ would come out as fast as possible. Ms Walsh stated that she was assured that somebody was on the way. She also agreed she conveyed to Garda Gorman that they were worried that John Carthy might shoot himself. She recounted in evidence that she was concerned about the subject harming himself because ‘‘it was totally out of character’’ for him to have ‘‘taken out the gun’’. However, she did not believe Mrs. Carthy had concern for her own safety.
Garda Gorman’s evidence of initial contact
On 1 9th April, 2000 Garda Maeve Gorman was station orderly at Granard garda station, having taken up duty at 2:00 p.m. She stated in evidence that she received a telephone call at approximately 5:25 p.m. from Mrs. Rose Carthy. She spoke to her for only a few seconds but found it difficult to hear her. She appeared to be very agitated and upset. It appeared to her that Mrs. Carthy had been crying. The telephone was then handed over to Ann Walsh. Garda Gorman considered the matter to be quite urgent. She made a record of the telephone call in the occurrence book that ‘‘the caller had reported that her son had locked himself into the house, that he had a loaded gun and had fired a few shots’’. She stated, however, that she was not informed by the caller that she thought that the gardaı´ might be at risk by attending at the house. She detailed Garda White and Garda John Gibbons to go to the scene. At 5:34 p.m. Ms Ann Walsh telephoned Granard garda station inquiring whether the gardaı´ were on the way. According to Garda Gorman, Ms Walsh ‘‘just said that there was a field between them and they wanted to get out of the house in case he would come up through the fields to them’’.
Contact with Dr. Cullen
When telephoned in error Mrs. Rosaleen Mahon thought that there may have been something wrong with her mother, Nancy Walsh, and she went to her mother’s house, arriving there shortly after the call was made to the gardaı´. Her mother answered the door and there present were Nancy Walsh, Rose Carthy, Ann Walsh and Alice Farrell. Mrs. Rosaleen Mahon was informed that John Carthy was down in the house and had fired shots. Mrs. Mahon stated that there was concern that he would do something to himself; she inquired whether anyone had telephoned Dr. Cullen. As no one had done so, she telephoned him. She explained to Dr. Cullen that the subject was at home and had fired shots. Dr. Cullen was, she said, ‘‘taken aback’’. The doctor inquired whether the gardaı´ had been called. He requested her to telephone the gardaı´ and tell them to come out and that he would meet them there. At that time the gardaı´ had already been contacted. Dr. Cullen confirmed that he would come to Abbeylara. At 5:32 p.m. Mrs. Rosaleen Mahon contacted Garda Gorman and notified her that Dr. Cullen had been contacted, was on his way to the scene, and would meet them in Abbeylara. She was informed by Garda Gorman that gardaı´ had already been dispatched. Mrs. Mahon initially thought that she might go down and speak to her cousin but she was dissuaded by other members of her family from so doing. She considered telephoning him and got his number from Mrs. Carthy. As she was putting the number into her phone she then considered that ‘‘if they left John until the gardaı´ arrived that that would be the best thing to do’’. Mrs. Mahon also confirmed that Mrs. Carthy was afraid that her son would shoot the gardaı´. However, Mrs. Mahon’s sole worry was that he might harm himself. She was not worried about her own safety at that time. She was aware of the goat incident and John Carthy had informed her about the allegations in connection with that event. This incident is discussed in Chapter 8 section C.
Garda Gibbons and Garda White are contacted
Garda John Gibbons and Garda Colin White had been on duty in a patrol car on that day, having commenced duty at 2:00 p.m. Detective Garda James Campbell was, at that time, on his way to work and due to commence at 6:00 p.m. Garda Gorman directed Garda Gibbons and Garda White to attend the scene.
SECTION B — The Arrival of the First Responders The arrival of Dr. Cullen
Dr. Cullen was concerned initially that John Carthy was going to harm himself. In his work he had experience of patients committing suicide by gunshot. He told the Tribunal that he was taken aback when he learned that his patient had a gun and was not aware that he had received the weapon back. However, he had not previously thought, based on his experience of John Carthy, that he was likely to commit suicide. Neither had he witnessed him being aggressive.
Dr. Cullen had just finished his surgery in Coole that evening when he received the telephone call from Mrs. Mahon. He immediately made his way to the scene and
drove past Carthy’s towards Farrell’s house. He parked his car in Farrell’s driveway and waited in it for the arrival of the gardaı´. Within a few minutes, ‘‘probably within ten minutes’’ the gardaı´ arrived. While waiting he heard a number of shots and he assumed that these were coming from the vicinity of Carthy’s old house, though it was unclear to him at that time whether the shots were coming from inside or outside. He recounted in evidence that he was concerned for his personal safety when John Carthy was shooting out the window, although he thought it unlikely that his patient would have been aware of his arrival at the scene because of where he parked. He did not attempt to make contact with him before the arrival of the gardaı´ and he did not go to Walsh’s house.
Having knowledge of John Carthy’s allegation of assault while in detention in the garda station in Granard, Dr. Cullen was concerned and stated:
‘‘it was a concern that while the gardaı´ obviously were needed on the one hand to try and remove that gun from him, that there may be a problem with regard to what happened with the alleged assault in the garda barracks previously’’.
He was therefore concerned about heightened animosity on the part of his patient to the gardaı´.
Garda Gibbons and Garda White leave for the scene
At approximately 5:25 p.m., Gardaı´Gibbons and White returned to the station where they were informed by Garda Gorman that Mrs. Rose Carthy had telephoned and informed her that she had been put out of the house by her son; that he had a loaded shotgun; that he had fired a number of shots and had locked himself into the house. Garda Gibbons was the senior member in the station at that time and was qualified to carry a revolver. He took off his uniform and put on a flak jacket over which he put on ‘‘a civilian jacket’’. In dealing with a firearms incident where shots were discharged, it was standard procedure that a member authorised to carry and use firearms would arm him or herself when responding to such an incident. He took a Smith and Wesson revolver from the station and signed and completed an entry in the firearms book. Garda White remained in uniform and did not arm himself. Gardaı´ Gibbons and White drove in a marked car to the scene.
Garda Gibbons’s prior knowledge of John Carthy
Garda John Gibbons was based in Granard for 27 years at the time of the incident and knew John Carthy to speak to. He had met him briefly on social terms on a number of occasions. During the course of his work, he had become aware that a complaint had been made in 1998 that John Carthy was alleged to have burned the goat mascot and had been arrested in connection with that event but released without charge. He had not, however, been involved in the investigation of the matter. He knew that John Carthy had a shotgun; that it had been taken from him during 1998 because of allegations that he had made threats against certain members of the public and he was also aware that the shotgun had been returned to him. He
was aware of these matters because Garda Oliver Cassidy who had been involved in the confiscation and the return of the shotgun, had worked on the same unit as him. He was further aware that John Carthy had a medical history; that he had a mental illness, that he had experienced ‘‘bouts of depression’’ and that he had been in St. Loman’s hospital ‘‘a few times’’. He was aware of the existence of the gun restoration file but had not seen the letter from Dr. Shanley, nor had he seen the file itself. He ‘‘presumed’’ such a file would exist. He stated in evidence that he had never heard of Dr. Shanley until the morning of 20th April. He had no knowledge of the fact that John Carthy had been upset by what was described as alleged mistreatment in Granard station; nor was he aware of that allegation.
Arrival of the gardaı´ in Abbeylara
Between 5:35 p.m. and 5:45 p.m., Garda Gibbons and Garda White arrived at the scene in a white, marked patrol car; one was in plain clothes (Garda Gibbons), and one in uniform (Garda White). Dr. Cullen did not know them by name.
Gardaı´ Gibbons and White drove into the driveway of Burke’s house and met Mr. Michael Burke. Mr. Burke confirmed that John Carthy had been firing shots.
The gardaı´ visit Walsh’s house for the first time
As Garda Gibbons was ‘‘not sure whether he [John Carthy] had moved into the new house’’ they went to Walsh’s house. Garda White drove the patrol car in around the back of Walsh’s house. At that stage there were a number of women in the house, including Mrs. Carthy, Nancy Walsh, Ann Walsh and Alice Farrell. According to Garda Gibbons there was ‘‘total panic’’. When he went into the kitchen, he stated that he heard Ms Alice Farrell saying that ‘‘he shouldn’t have a gun. Why was it given back to him?’’ He stated that he told her ‘‘to calm down, that that was a separate issue’’. They all were ‘‘talking at the same time’’. Mrs. Walsh was panicking and had to be consoled by her daughter. Garda Gibbons spent approximately ten minutes in the house. He formed the impression that the women were concerned for their own safety, although he agreed that their expressions of concern could be equally consistent with concern for John Carthy’s safety. He inquired what had happened. He stated that Mrs. Carthy informed him that she was put out of the house, that her son had a loaded shotgun, had fired a number of shots and was on antidepressant tablets. Garda White asked was there a telephone in the house. He was informed that John Carthy had a mobile phone. Garda White stated that Mrs. Carthy reluctantly gave him the number. He said that she felt that her son might not be too happy with her for giving out that information. She also told him that ‘‘he will know that it was me who gave you this number’’ and he thought that she ‘‘seemed to be in fear’’. Garda Gibbons also accepted that his perception in this regard could equally be consistent with Mrs. Carthy being anxious for her son’s safety. He did not agree that there was any mention of Dr. Shanley’s name, or the mention of a psychiatrist in Dublin, while he was in the house. Garda White did not recollect any reference to Dr. Shanley’s name being made by Ms Alice Farrell or any other person in the house during his visit there. He noted that Mrs. Carthy was very upset. He stated that they
had little meaningful conversation with her. Garda White stated in evidence that it was either Mrs. Carthy or Ms Farrell who told them that John Carthy had depression and that he received medication on the first day of every month. They were also informed that Dr. Cullen had been called and was on his way.
Garda Gibbons inquired as to who was the best person to talk to John Carthy, and he was told that Thomas Walsh (a cousin, who worked in Cork) was such a person. He asked the ladies to telephone Thomas Walsh, which they did, but he thought that they could not get through to him at that time.
Mrs. Carthy did not know the gardaı´ by name. She had no clear recollection of what information she gave them, but she stated that she told them that her son was in the house, he had a gun and she was concerned about him. She could not remember all the questions she was asked by the gardaı´ but she confirmed that she was asked about his medication. She could not remember whether there was a discussion about his depression or whether there was any mention of Dr. Cullen. According to her, John Carthy liked Dr. Cullen. It should be noted, however, that Dr. Cullen thought their relationship was ‘‘average’’, although he had not noted any personal animosity on John Carthy’s part towards him. Mrs. Carthy recounted in evidence that she knew that her son would not come out and talk to him; he might think that Dr. Cullen was ‘‘going to put him into St. Loman’s hospital’’, although she could not recollect whether she mentioned this to the gardaı´ at that time.
Ms Walsh stated that the plain-clothes garda asked ‘‘what are we up against here?’’ She stated they told him about John Carthy being a manic-depressive, for which he was on medication. She observed that he stated something about ‘‘is it a shoot-out or what?’’ Garda Gibbons denies this was said by him. Subsequently, according to Ms Walsh, all the women participated and everybody was giving their ‘‘input’’. While Ms Walsh knew that John Carthy was on lithium, she did not know the name of his antidepressant tablets. She asked Mrs. Carthy for the name of the tablet but ‘‘she couldn’t remember’’. She stated that she informed the guards of John Carthy’s feelings about the police. According to her:
‘‘we told them that the time he was accused of burning the mascot goat, that he would have had a bad feeling about the guards since. That we didn’t know how he would react’’.
Ms Walsh confirmed she did not inform the gardaı´ of the conversation that she had had with John Carthy on the previous evening. She did not recall Garda Gibbons’s recollection to the effect that the persons in the house were frightened and kept asking why he was given the gun back. Further, she said that no one raised the issue of the restoration of his gun licence. In fact she stated that she was unaware of that issue. In summary, Ms Walsh confirmed that she informed Garda Gibbons:
i. that her cousin was a manic-depressive;
ii. that he had animosity towards the guards because of difficulty relating to the mascot incident;
iii. that he had a shotgun;
iv. that he was firing shots;
v. that he had never done anything like that before when he was not well and that it was ‘‘totally out of character for him to have gone and taken out the gun when he would be in a manic-depressive state’’; and,
vi. that there was a fear that he might injure himself.
Ms Walsh thought that in the interview with Gardaı´ Gibbons and White that Mrs. Carthy said that her son had an appointment with Dr. Shanley on the Thursday of that week.
Ms Walsh agreed that in her statement to the Tribunal, she had indicated that Mrs. Carthy had said that her son had put her out of the house. However, in her evidence she stated she was clear that Mrs. Carthy did not say that he had put her out of the house.
Ms Farrell said she remembered saying that John Carthy was attending Dr. Shanley in St. Patrick’s hospital in Dublin. She also said that she had told Garda Gibbons that Dr. Shanley was his psychiatrist. While she let the family deal with the matter, she said she helped with the identity of the psychiatrist, because she knew Dr. Shanley. In examination by counsel for the Commissioner, she agreed that she did not make any mention in her statement to the Tribunal of having told Gardaı´ Gibbons and White about the previous involvement of Dr. Shanley, saying that she was in shock when she made her statement, and that ‘‘we didn’t get that much time to really do a lot of thinking’’. She said that she was ‘‘never asked and it just never came into my head at that time’’. She also agreed that there was no mention in her second statement to the Tribunal that she, or any other member of the Walsh or Mahon family, had mentioned Dr. Shanley’s name to the gardaı´, and said that the reason for this was ‘‘because it was never asked of me and I didn’t think of it’’.
Mrs. Rosaleen Mahon stated that two gardaı´ arrived, a plain-clothes and a uniformed garda. She knew Garda John Gibbons to see. She stated that when they came into the house they were told what was happening. They both asked what frame of mind John Carthy was in at the time and what medication he was on. They were given this information. While she could not be 100% sure, she thought the gardaı´ were told that he was suffering from manic depression and that he was on medication. The gardaı´ were concerned to know how much he had taken — had he taken more medication or was there medicine missing. She stated that she informed the gardaı´ that Dr. Cullen was his general practitioner. Mrs. Mahon thought that Rose Carthy was in shock.
Ms Walsh believed that Mrs. Carthy stated that her son had an appointment with Dr. Shanley on Thursday and that ‘‘I know I spoke at some stage to them about his psychiatrist’’. It is a matter of dispute whether Dr. Shanley’s name was mentioned at that stage of the evening. According to Ms Walsh a female garda was informed that Dr. Shanley was a psychiatrist in Dublin and that her cousin was going to see him in St. Patrick’s. Ms Walsh gave evidence that there was a further discussion regarding
Dr. Shanley with the gardaı´ later that night when they were in her sister’s house, though she was unclear as to whom the information was given. Later in her evidence, however, she agreed she did not refer to Dr. Shanley’s name being mentioned in her initial statement to the Culligan Inquiry, as she had not recalled it then. She stated that there were a lot of things that she had since recalled. She also confirmed that in her second statement she did not refer to informing the gardaı´ about Dr. Shanley. She accepted that she did not believe she was asked by either of the gardaı´ the name of the person under whose care John Carthy had been treated. She observed that her evidence in this regard ‘‘may be a bit vague of when it was said butI definitely know that the psychiatrist, Dr. Shanley, and his medication were told to the gardaı´’’. She confirmed that it was not she who mentioned Dr. Shanley’s name but that it was either Mrs. Carthy or Alice Farrell who did. The name of the garda to whom this information may have been given remains unclear. It was suggested to her that it was not until 7:00 a.m. on the following morning that Dr. Shanley’s name was mentioned, when reference was made to an appointment that day. However, she believed it was also referred to in her mother’s house on the previous evening. Garda White and Garda Gibbons stated that Dr. Shanley’s name was not mentioned to them.
Mrs. Mahon stated she was not quite sure whether it was on the first or second visit by the gardaı´ that they were told about medication; about the subject having attended St. Loman’s; and that he was attending a psychiatrist in St. Patrick’s hospital in Dublin. She could not be definite whether Dr. Shanley’s name was actually mentioned. She stated in evidence that she was not one of the people who inquired why he had been given his gun back and she thought it was Alice Farrell who said that. She knew his gun had been taken. She did not know the reason why and she was unaware it had been returned. She told the Tribunal she was subsequently informed by the gardaı´ that it was too dangerous for Dr. Cullen to speak to John Carthy. Mrs. Mahon stated that when the gardaı´ arrived they were given as much help as possible by the family.
The gardaı´ leave the Walsh house
Gardaı´ Gibbons and White decided to leave Walsh’s and go down to see if they could talk to John Carthy, and ‘‘hope fully get him to talk to the doctor’’. Ms Walsh stated that after the gardaı´ left the house she became concerned about the safety of others in the house, particularly Mrs. Carthy. She did not know what her cousin’s state of mind was at that time. Knowing his feelings about the gardaı´, she was afraid he would have known that his mother must have called the guards from Walsh’s house and that he would have been angry with her. She was concerned that there were only two guards there. She stated that Mrs. Carthy was anxious that the detective who arrived may have been the officer involved on the night her son was taken in for questioning in relation to the mascot. She was afraid if it were he, that John Carthy would shoot at him. However, it is to be noted that Ms Alice Farrell assured Mrs. Carthy it was not the same detective.
First approach by gardaı´ to the Carthy dwelling
The two gardaı´ proceeded down to Carthy’s. Garda White drove the car up the driveway of the Carthy house. Before driving into the driveway of the house, the gardaı´stated they had not considered or attempted to make contact with John Carthy on his mobile phone. Garda Gibbons confirmed that he had not, at that time, formed any opinion as to whether they were dealing with either an aggressive or non-aggressive individual. He had known that John Carthy was depressed, but this fact on its own would not necessarily mean that he would be aggressive, he said. At that time, he (the witness) had no reason to believe that the subject might be aggressive towards any particular individual or member of the Garda. As the patrol car was being driven up the driveway, and at a point approximately halfway between the gate and the old house, two shots were heard coming from the old house in what was described as quick succession. On hearing the shots, he reversed out of the driveway and drove down past Carthy’s. As they approached Farrell’s house they saw Dr. Cullen.
The meeting with Dr. Cullen
Meeting Dr. Cullen — Garda Gibbons’s evidence
Garda Gibbons stated that they met Dr. Cullen outside Farrell’s. He sat into the back of the patrol car and informed them that his patient was suffering from depression and, according to Garda Gibbons:
‘‘he also told me that he mightn’t be too happy to see the gardaı´ because of an incident that happened at the time he was arrested in Granard relating to the mascot’’.
Garda Gibbons stated that he had no further discussion with Dr. Cullen as to why John Carthy might not be happy to see the gardaı´, nor did he speak to Dr. Cullen about any animosity that he may have had towards the gardaı´. When it was put to him that Dr. Cullen had stated in evidence that he probably ‘‘put it more strongly’’ than John Carthy not being too pleased to see the gardaı´, Garda Gibbons stated that the foregoing was all he could recall. He did not inquire from Dr. Cullen as to why there might be animosity because, he said, at that point in time, Garda Campbell arrived on the scene. He thought that it was ‘‘possibly’’ the arrival of Garda Campbell that led to the termination of his discussion with Dr. Cullen. Garda Gibbons did not inquire whether John Carthy was having specialist treatment, and did not find out any more information about his illness, nor did he inquire of Dr. Cullen as to how he thought it would be best to deal with John Carthy. He did not ask him for advice, nor did his colleagues ask for such help. Garda Campbell did not speak with Dr. Cullen.
Meeting Dr. Cullen — Garda White’s evidence
Garda White stated that Dr. Cullen got into the patrol car and a conversation ensued about the subject. The doctor told them that John Carthy was suffering from depression. Garda White was unable to recall whether Dr. Cullen had spoken of treatment or medication. He was not able to recall any discussion about the subject’s
attitude towards the police. He accepted that such conversation may have taken place but this was his first time to deal with a firearms situation and that he felt that his sole responsibility was to protect life and property. He told the Tribunal that he ‘‘would not have stood idly by and watched from a distance on the basis that John had a grievance against members of An Garda Sı´ocha´na’’. Either he or Garda Gibbons gave John Carthy’s mobile phone number to the doctor and asked him to phone his patient. This Dr. Cullen did, but he reached the answering machine. He did not think that the doctor had left a message and, he stated, the caller did not try the number again. When he had finished attempting to contact John Carthy, Garda Campbell arrived. Garda White stayed with Dr. Cullen while Garda Gibbons and Garda Campbell approached the Carthy house for the second time. Garda White stated that he was in and out of the car while Dr. Cullen remained in it during this period. Garda White also confirmed that the car was out of the line of vision of the house ‘‘unless John Carthy stuck his head out the window’’.
The meeting with Dr. Cullen — Dr. Cullen’s evidence
In evidence Dr. Cullen stated that he met the two gardaı´ on the roadway outside Farrell’s house and introduced himself. He then got into the back of the patrol car and had a conversation with them. He stated:
‘‘My recollection is thatI told them that John might be high in terms of his illness’’.
He was not entirely sure of whether he informed the gardaı´ about the illness, but he stated that he believed he had referred to the illness as ‘‘depression’’ rather than ‘‘manic depression’’. He confirmed that the discussion with the gardaı´ took the form of questions and answers. He told the Tribunal that he informed them that:
‘‘John might be aggressive towards them in view of the incident with the mascot and his detention in the station in Granard’’.
He was questioned on whether he told the gardaı´ about the allegations that John Carthy had made, namely, that he had been wrongly accused and that he had alleged that he was assaulted. He stated he was ‘‘not one hundred per cent sure on that’’. He did not recollect receiving any reaction from the gardaı´on this. He was questioned as follows:
‘‘Q. Did you tell them about how you thought that the animosity, so to speak, might manifest itself?
A. Yes, I said that John might not be pleased to see them.
Q. Did you put it any more strongly than that?
When questioned whether he was sure that he had gone into that level of detail on this issue regarding ‘‘being accused in the wrong’’, and of the allegation of assault, he stated he could not be ‘‘sure’’ but, that to the best of his recollection, he gave the gardaı´ ‘‘an outline of what had happened’’ and that he ‘‘would have assumed that [he] would have told the gardaı´ that’’. He believed he answered whatever he was
asked, though he could not specifically recall the nature of the questions asked. He also accepted that the gardaı´ who arrived on the scene ‘‘tried and did their best to involve’’ him to assist in their dealings with his patient. Dr. Cullen also stated that he informed them that John Carthy might have consumed alcohol because the only other time that he had seen him so upset, from a medical perspective, was when he had alcohol taken; that was in August, 1998.
While at the scene he spoke to these two gardaı´ only. The conversation lasted for ‘‘minutes’’. He did not recall them seeking advice from him but he stated that he gave them the history ‘‘as best I could, which I thought might be of help to them’’, and that from his ‘‘professional judgment and clinical knowledge of the man’’ he ‘‘shared with them’’ what he knew, to the fullest extent he could. Dr. Cullen confirmed, in response to counsel for the Commissioner, that he told the two gardaı´ ‘‘the salient facts in relation to John Carthy, his condition, his possible feelings of aggression and the fact that he was firing out of the house’’. Dr. Cullen stated that while they were in the car, Garda Campbell arrived from the Abbeylara direction in an unmarked garda car. His name was unknown to Dr. Cullen at that time. Dr. Cullen was unsure whether he spoke to Garda Campbell at that time, but believed that he did not.
Dr. Cullen’s attempt at mobile phone contact
Dr. Cullen also confirmed that Garda White had obtained John Carthy’s mobile phone number and that he, the witness, attempted to telephone him but without success. He believed it was after he had attempted to contact his patient on the mobile phone that he informed the gardaı´ that he might not be pleased to see them. Dr. Cullen had never been involved in an incident similar to this which involved negotiating skills. During the course of his evidence to the Tribunal, Dr. Cullen stated, that he did not believe that he would be in a position to talk to John Carthy while he was in possession of the gun, but was hopeful that once the gun had been taken out of the situation he would be able to communicate with him. He thought that the subject might be more amenable to listening to him, rather than to a stranger.
Detective Garda Campbell’s call to the scene
Garda Gorman received a phone call from Garda White shortly after he and Garda Gibbons arrived at the scene to say that more shots had been fired since their arrival. She therefore contacted Garda Campbell at about 5:30 p.m. She informed him shots had been fired by John Carthy at his home and she required him to go there as quickly as possible. He drove to Granard garda station where he was informed by Garda Gorman that Garda Gibbons and Garda White had already gone to the scene and that Garda Gibbons was carrying a firearm. He got his gun from his locker, put on a flak jacket under his civilian jacket, and drove to Abbeylara.
Detective Garda Campbell’s prior knowledge of John Carthy
Prior to the events of April, 2000, Garda Campbell stated that he did not particularly know John Carthy. He was unaware of his mental health difficulties, but was aware,
from records in the station, that he had been arrested in connection with the burning of the goat mascot. He said that he remembered looking at the custody record and knew that Garda McHugh and Garda Bruen had been dealing with it, but was not involved in inquiries at that time. He stated that he knew nothing of the fact that John Carthy had been wrongly accused and he did not raise this topic with anyone either when he was called to the incident, or subsequently in the course of the siege.
Detective Garda Campbell’s arrival at the scene
When Garda Campbell got to Walsh’s house he saw the marked garda patrol car parked facing towards him — he parked just in front of it. His colleagues got out and told him that Dr. Cullen was in the car. He knew Dr. Cullen by name, although he did not know him to see. Garda Gibbons and Garda White informed him that Dr. Cullen was John Carthy’s general practitioner. They informed him that the subject was suffering from depression and that, as a consequence of his arrest, ‘‘that he mightn’t be too happy to see us’’. Garda Campbell however, did not speak to Dr. Cullen or pursue this issue with him. Gardaı´ Gibbons and White then told him that they had spoken to some of the Carthy family members, and had been informed that Mrs. Carthy was in Walsh’s and had been put out of her house. Garda Campbell was not aware of the relationship between the Walshs and the Carthys at that stage. He stated that he was told by the two gardaı´ that the people in the house ‘‘were in pure panic’’ and, ‘‘they were afraid’’. They then had a discussion about the background information that had been received from Dr. Cullen and from the people in Walsh’s. They were aware that John Carthy had depression, that he was on medication for it, and that he would not be pleased to see the gardaı´ because of the mascot incident. He also learned that Gardaı´ Gibbons and White had attempted to drive into the Carthy house and that they had heard a couple of shots. He thought that Garda Gibbons might have mentioned that John Carthy’s gun had been taken from him previously and that it was given back to him. He believed that he asked why the gun was taken and was almost sure that Garda Gibbons informed him that it was as a result of reports of the threats made by John Carthy. He believed that the panic and fear among the people in Walsh’s house arose from the fact that they were afraid that the subject might come up with the shotgun. Garda Gibbons expressed concern that John Carthy might leave the house and go to Walsh’s. Garda Campbell stated that he was concerned that the subject might have injured himself.
The second approach to the house
Garda Gibbons got into Garda Campbell’s car and they drove to the boundary between Carthy’s and Burke’s where they stopped behind the hedge. Garda Campbell believed that walking to the house would be too dangerous. Therefore, he decided to park outside the extension of the old house where there was no window. This would give them time to get out of the car and take cover around the side of the house. He did not, however, know the layout of the house. The car was parked in what Garda Gibbons described as ‘‘a safe position’’. They both got out of the vehicle, went around the gable of the house and proceeded towards the front door. Garda Campbell was in front. The latter left the keys of the car in the ignition. Both
had their guns drawn. It was their intention, to ‘‘get up close and talk to John and get him to talk to his doctor’’. Garda Gibbons did not agree with the suggestion that it was unlikely that John Carthy would discuss matters if he saw the drawn weapons. He believed that John Carthy could not have seen whether they had weapons. They proceeded to the porch of the house. Garda Campbell stated that he intended to speak to John Carthy to find out what his problem was. As he passed by the gable window he was in a crouched position. He was not previously aware that there were windows on the porch side of the house.
Garda Campbell recounted that he stopped just short of the porch, reached around with his left hand and knocked on the door. He told John Carthy that he was Jim Campbell from Granard garda station and asked him ‘‘are you ok?’’ In response he heard glass breaking behind him and then a loud shot from a shotgun. He described how, at this stage, he feared that he was going to be shot. Garda Gibbons could not say from where the shot came, but it was ‘‘right at my left ear’’. It did not come through glass, he thought. Garda Gibbons had heard glass breaking behind him. He was unsure which window was broken. He then heard what he thought was furniture being moved about inside. They then decided to move to the gable furthest from the road. Garda Campbell covered Garda Gibbons as he made his way and then followed him to that gable. He heard what he thought was a further shot coming from the gable facing the roadway. From this new location Garda Campbell told John Carthy that they were gardaı´ and they wanted him to throw out the shotgun. He told him that there was no harm done and that there was nobody injured. According to Garda Campbell, John Carthy’s response was ‘‘fuck off’’. He stated that he then told the subject that Dr. Cullen was in the car, and that if he threw out the shotgun he could speak to Dr. Cullen and everything would be okay. Garda Campbell stated that immediately after Dr. Cullen’s name was mentioned another shot was fired from the back of the house. This one struck the left front wing of the unmarked garda car in the driveway. Garda Campbell once again spoke to John Carthy. He stated that he tried to assure him that he would be treated well if he came out, and again asked him to throw out the shotgun. The response to this, he said, was ‘‘come in here you fucker, I’m not going out’’. Garda Campbell then thought he heard more shots from inside the house, discharged in quick succession. He heard another shot coming close to where he was positioned and he saw dust or gravel going up in the air. He attempted once more, he stated, to reassure John Carthy that there was no harm done and that all would be alright if he threw out the shotgun. On each of these occasions the reply he received was ‘‘I’m not coming out of here’’ and ‘‘you can come in here you fucker, I’m not going out’’. Garda Campbell thought John Carthy was not acting rationally at this stage. He felt that he was aggressive and believed that he got nowhere in dealing with him.
Garda Gibbons stated that he gave consideration to withdrawing from the house, but as he could not go back the way he came, he felt trapped. Although he could not hear a voice, he heard furniture being knocked around inside the house. He described feeling that his life was in danger. However, he said, they still wanted to try to talk to the subject and that even after the shot was fired Garda Campbell asked whether John Carthy was ‘‘okay’’. When questioned on whether Garda Campbell
made reference to the shotgun, he said that ‘‘he could have told him to throw out the shotgun at that stage’’. Garda Gibbons then took cover. Garda Campbell, he said, continued to try to talk to the subject from a position of cover. Two more shots were discharged. Garda Gibbons could hear him ‘‘mumbling’’ inside the house, but could not hear what was being said. He heard Garda Campbell saying that they were there to help and to throw out the gun. He also heard Garda Campbell mention Dr. Cullen’s name, and that he was there to assist, and to come out and talk to him, ‘‘or words to that effect’’. He observed that ‘‘when Dr. Cullen’s name was mentioned, the shot was fired at the patrol car’’. Garda Gibbons who, at that stage, was crouched down behind a mound of earth to the rear of the house saw the car being struck. He did not have a radio with him; neither did Garda Campbell. However, Garda Campbell did have a mobile phone.
Garda Gibbons confirmed in evidence that Garda Campbell had requested that John Carthy would first have to throw the gun out before matters could progress.
Request for back-up
At approximately 6:15 p.m., Garda Campbell telephoned Garda Gorman to inform her of what was occurring at the scene; to request that the district officer, Superintendent Michael Byrne, be informed; and, that assistance be sent.
Garda White’s observations
Garda White remained near the patrol car, which was parked somewhere between the entrances to the Burke and Carthy houses, and observed Garda Campbell driving up the driveway. The two gardaı´ drew their firearms and moved in a ‘‘hunkered’’ position under the gable window of the cottage, around to the front of the house. He heard the sound of breaking glass and then observed a side-by-side shotgun protruding through the gable window. He then heard either one or two shots being fired in quick succession and he sought further assistance from Granard station.
Garda White considered his location to be unsafe and he reversed the patrol car back towards Abbeylara. He went as far as Walsh’s with a view to evacuating the house. Garda Brendan McGuinness and Garda Edward Martin had arrived at this stage. Garda White stated that a number of sergeants then arrived and Superintendent Shelly followed at a later stage. Garda White remained at the scene and assisted in check-point duty.
Dr. Cullen’s observations
During this time, Dr. Cullen was sitting in the back of Garda White’s patrol car which was parked in the vicinity of the corner of the boundary ditch between Carthy’s and Burke’s. The vehicle was facing down the road, from which point Dr. Cullen could see the unmarked car in the driveway. He saw the two gardaı´ get out and approach the house in different ways, one from the left of the car, towards its gable end; the other from the right, towards the rear of the house. Both gardaı´ stated that they
approached by the same route. Dr. Cullen could not clearly hear the conversation between the gardaı´ and John Carthy. He heard what he described as mumbled sounds. He confirmed that his patient did make a verbal response to the garda but he could not make out what was being said. He heard his own name being mentioned. He heard shots from the back of the house, which damaged the unmarked car, and the noise of the impact with it. He stated that Garda White then reversed the car to Burke’s entrance. Dr. Cullen did not really know what happened after that. He did not again see or speak to either Garda Gibbons or Garda Campbell on that evening. He got out of the car and waited near it with Mr. Michael Burke. Some time later he asked ‘‘some member of the Garda’’ whether it was ‘‘okay’’ to leave the scene, as he had patients waiting in his surgery in Coole. He could not recollect which person he spoke to but he was told he could leave.
Dr. Cullen was questioned whether he might have been ‘‘useful’’ had he stayed at the scene. He thought that ‘‘in the event that John was disarmed’’ that ‘‘hopefullyI would be able to talk to him, to decide what we would be able to do from there for him’’. He would not have been happy to approach his patient before he was disarmed. In answer to the Chairman, he stated that he would have been amenable to a situation of meeting John Carthy ‘‘. . .at a halfway house. . .if he was persuaded to leave his gun in the house and come out to his porch or some distance beyond the porch . . .’’ and have a conversation with him ‘‘... if that would be possible’’. However, he thought that such an approach would not have been possible after the shot was discharged at the car, because ‘‘tensions had risen considerably as a result of that’’. He could not say what John Carthy’s feelings were, but from his perspective, when his name was mentioned, the subject’s immediate reaction was to shoot at the unmarked car. He subsequently agreed, however, that from what he could hear, he did not know the context in which his name had been used. He believed that by the time that shot was discharged, any ability he may have had to interview John Carthy was gone, and his ‘‘usefulness’’ was spent. In a handwritten note made by Dr. Cullen shortly after the shooting, he recorded that ‘‘mention of my name. . .worsened him’’. Dr. Cullen felt that his patient was very distressed at that time. He thought that the firing of the shot when his name was mentioned was more a sign of his patient being unwell, rather than a sign of possible aggression towards him.
Dr. Cullen leaves the scene
In order to collect his car which was parked near Farrell’s, Dr. Cullen stated that another garda brought him back into Abbeylara and around side roads to the Farrell side of the Carthy house. He returned to his surgery and arrived there sometime between 7:20 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The evidence indicates that he left the scene before Superintendent Shelly arrived. It also emerges from statements and discovered documentation that on his return to Coole, someone in his practice made preliminary arrangements by telephone for John Carthy’s admission to St. Loman’s. In answer to counsel for the Carthy family, he agreed that if the incident had not ended tragically, he would have considered, in conjunction with the family, committing the subject to hospital ‘‘voluntarily or otherwise’’, as he was a possible source of danger to himself
or to others and was not very rational at that stage. John Carthy, he said, ‘‘could not be treated as a rational person’’.
Garda White returns to Walsh’s
Ms Walsh stated in evidence that Garda White subsequently came back to the house. He told them that her cousin was still shooting. She said that he inquired again about the subject’s medication and she said that Garda White was told ‘‘again’’ that he was taking lithium and an antidepressant and ‘‘at that stage Aunt Rosie was able to tell him what antidepressant he was on’’.
Garda White however told the Tribunal that the purpose of this visit to Walsh’s house was solely to ask the occupants to leave the house for safety reasons. He stated that he did not go into the house and only spoke to the person who answered the door; he was not sure who this was.
Walsh’s house is evacuated
Around 7:00 p.m., having been informed by Garda White that they should leave, the occupants of Walsh’s house went up to Ms Walsh’s sister, Mrs. Patricia Mahon’s house located on the Coole road, approximately one mile away. Mrs. Mahon recounted how she met her sister, Ms Walsh, Alice Farrell, Mrs. Carthy and her mother at the crossroads in the village and they proceeded to her house. According to Mrs. Mahon, Mrs. Carthy was very upset and she was afraid that her son was going to do something to himself with the gun. When she asked Mrs. Carthy what had happened and why had he become upset, she stated, that Mrs. Carthy just said that her son kept saying ‘‘to go up to Nancy for an hour or two’’, and that Mrs. Carthy did not seem to know why he did this. It was completely out of character and ‘‘we just seemed to be at a loss to know why, what happened’’. The witness said that nobody could find a reason for it.
Thomas Walsh is contacted
At approximately 5:45 p.m., Ms Ann Walsh telephoned her brother Thomas, who was in Cork, and left a message on his mobile telephone. The message was to the effect that she was in their mother’s house, that John Carthy was firing shots and the gardaı´ had been called. Mr. Thomas Walsh stated that he picked up this message at 6:20 p.m. and immediately returned the call. His sister informed him that Mrs. Carthy had come up to his mother’s house in a distressed state; that his cousin was firing shots and the gardaı´ had been called. She was upset and told him that she was worried that there might be a confrontation with the gardaı´. Mr. Walsh reassured her that John Carthy would not hurt anyone and advised her and the others to leave the house. He told her that he would leave Cork for Abbeylara immediately. Mr. Walsh in evidence stated that his sister had expressed her concern for John Carthy and a potential conflict with the gardaı´; and not for her own safety or the safety of the other members of her household. Shortly after leaving Cork he telephoned the garda station in Granard and spoke to Garda Gorman. She informed him that John Carthy
had fired at a garda squad car and that he was still in his house. Mr. Walsh was advised by her not to attempt to telephone the subject as the gardaı´ at the scene may be trying to attempt dialogue with him. Garda Gorman also stated in evidence that she told him that others had been inquiring about going down to talk to John Carthy, but that he informed her that it should be left until he got there because he was the best person to speak to his cousin. Thomas Walsh then telephoned a friend, Garda David Martin, who was based at Smear, Co. Longford, to see if he knew any more information about the situation. He also requested Garda Martin to arrange to have the family moved from Walsh’s house as he felt that they sounded distressed. In addition, he was concerned about his mother, an elderly woman, who had a heart condition. Garda Martin stated in evidence that he telephoned Granard garda station and made inquiries. He telephoned Mr. Walsh back informing him that the houses had been evacuated and confirmed that the family was going to stay with Patricia Mahon. Garda Martin’s evidence was to the effect that Mr. Walsh had informed him
that ‘‘John had gone berserk in the house’’.
Mr. Walsh also telephoned Mr. Bernard Reilly to ascertain if he had any further detail. Mr. Reilly did not know what could have caused John Carthy to act in this way, but he did refer to an incident in McCormack’s public house in Abbeylara the previous weekend where the subject had a disagreement with another customer at the bar.
Thomas Walsh drove to Abbeylara and arrived there at approximately 9:00 p.m.
Sergeant Dooley and Sergeant Mangan are contacted
Sergeant Tom Dooley was stationed in Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford. At approximately 6:10 p.m. he received a call from Garda Gorman saying that she required a member of the Garda Sı´ocha´na to go to the scene to divert traffic from the Ballywillin side. Garda Gorman informed him that there were no occupants in the house other than the person who had discharged the firearm and that he had put his mother out of the house. Sergeant Dooley detailed Garda McGuinness, also from Edgeworthstown, to go to the scene. Sergeant Dooley went to the garda station in Granard. When he arrived at the station he met Sergeant Mary Mangan. He learned from Garda Gorman that the man involved in the incident was John Carthy. He did not know the latter personally, and although he was aware of the goat incident, he was not aware of the subject’s alleged connection with the burning of it.
He was also informed that Garda Gibbons, Garda Campbell and possibly Garda White and Garda Martin were at the scene. He learned from Garda Gorman that shots had been discharged and that one of these shots had struck the patrol car. He travelled to Abbeylara with Sergeant Mangan arriving at the scene at 6:40 p.m. Sergeant Dooley was the senior officer present at the incident prior to the arrival of Superintendent Shelly; as such he had overall command until Superintendent Shelly arrived. When he reached Abbeylara he spoke to Garda White who informed him that the occupants of the houses in the immediate vicinity, Farrell’s, Burke’s and Walsh’s had been evacuated. He also told Sergeant Dooley that as far as he could establish the subject was in the front of the Carthy old house, and that Garda
Campbell and Garda Gibbons were ‘‘pinned down at the back of the house’’. Sergeant Dooley was aware that Dr. Cullen was in the vicinity on the Ballywillin side of the Carthy house. His immediate concern, however, was his own welfare and the welfare of his colleagues as he felt that John Carthy could leave the house, and with only two armed members at the scene, he stated that he felt vulnerable. Sergeant Dooley was also made aware that John Carthy ‘‘suffered from depression’’.
Sergeant Mary Mangan was stationed in Granard and had taken up duty at 6:30 p.m. She did not know John Carthy prior to this incident. When she came on duty she spoke to Garda Gorman who informed her about the events then taking place in Abbeylara. She recalled Garda Gorman telling her that the subject had put his mother out of the house. Shortly after being briefed she went to Abbeylara with Sergeant Dooley. They knew that Superintendent Shelly was on his way and that other assistance had been requested. Sergeant Mangan drove out to the scene in her own car. She parked it some distance back from Walsh’s house in the direction of Abbeylara. She and Sergeant Dooley walked down to the scene from the car. When they arrived, she stated that they met three uniformed gardaı´, including Garda White and Garda Martin, at a location somewhere between Walsh’s and Burke’s house. She could also see Garda McGuinness at this point. Garda Martin and Garda White briefed the two sergeants in relation to what had transpired at the scene. In particular, they were told about the approach by Garda Campbell and Garda Gibbons to the house. As a result of this briefing, Sergeant Mangan believed Garda Campbell and Garda Gibbons to be at the rear of the Carthy house with a view of the front door. Garda White briefed both sergeants in relation to the interview that he and Garda Gibbons had with the extended Carthy family in Walsh’s house. Sergeant Mangan learned that the family were upset and anxious; that they were worried that he had the shotgun and were concerned for him. In evidence, she could not recall the specifics of the briefing, but felt that she hadn’t learned anything that she did not already know.
SECTION C — The Involvement of Senior Officers
First contact with senior officers
When Garda Gorman was informed by Detective Garda Campbell that shots had been fired and that a patrol car had been hit, he requested her to contact Superintendent Byrne, the district officer for Granard. She contacted the latter who informed her that he was at a meeting in Dublin at the time and would return to Granard as soon as possible. He asked her to contact Superintendent Joseph Shelly, the district officer at Mullingar and request him to take charge of the event in the meantime. Both districts are in the same division. Garda Gorman contacted Superintendent Shelly at approximately 6:25 p.m. and informed him of the incident. She stated she conveyed to him such information as she had at that point. On her own initiative she also made contact with other garda stations at Ballinalee and Ed geworthstown, to seek further assistance.
Superintendent Shelly was at his office in Mullingar when he received the call from Garda Gorman who informed him that a number of shots had been discharged at gardaı´ who attended the scene of the incident and that a patrol car had been hit. He was also informed that nobody had been injured. Because of what he described as the seriousness of the situation he felt it best to go to Granard garda station first, and then to the scene. He understood that his function was to take charge at the scene if the situation was ongoing on his arrival.
Chief Superintendent Tansey is informed
The offices of Superintendent Shelly and Chief Superintendent Patrick Tansey, the divisional officer, were in the same building in Mullingar. Superintendent Shelly conveyed such information as he had to Sergeant Feeney, the divisional clerk, for further transmission to Chief Superintendent Tansey. Superintendent Shelly informed Sergeant Feeney that there was an armed incident in progress. According to Superintendent Shelly, the reported incident was an important matter; it was an emergency and he wanted Chief Superintendent Tansey to be informed of where he was going. He understood that his chief superintendent would have a role to play because he was in charge of the division. It was his expectation that he would receive guidance or advice from him in relation to any matter that would require serious consideration. If Chief Superintendent Tansey had advice to give him, or to offer, he would ‘‘gladly accept it’’. He would also follow any orders received. The chief superintendent received a note from Sergeant Feeney which recorded a number of matters, including that at 5:30 p.m. one John Carthy of Toneymore, Abbeylara, who was 28 years old, a manic-depressive and on medication, had put his mother out of the house and started firing shots. It stated that he had fired approximately eight shots from a shotgun since the gardaı´ had arrived and that his doctor was at the scene. Sergeant Feeney also informed him that the patrol car had been damaged by gunfire and that Superintendent Shelly had gone to the scene. Sergeant Feeney also told Chief Superintendent Tansey that Garda White and Garda Gibbons, who was armed, were the first two gardaı´to arrive and that they were joined shortly afterwards by Garda Campbell who was also armed. The chief superintendent was informed that the latter had endeavoured to speak to John Carthy, but had got no response and that some shots had been fired. Sergeant Feeney also informed Chief Superintendent Tansey that Mrs. Carthy was safe, and was in the home of her sister nearby. Sergeant Feeney was not in a position to inform the chief superintendent whether the gardaı´ had spoken to Dr. Cullen. He learned subsequently that it was the family who had called the doctor.
Superintendent Shelly seeks the assistance of further armed gardaı´
Superintendent Shelly’s assessment of the incident was that it required the attendance of further armed gardaı´. He contacted Detective Garda Eugene Dunne and Garda Shane Nolan. Both were armed plain-clothes gardaı´, one a detective and the other an ‘‘aid’’. Garda Nolan worked with the detective unit full time. They
accompanied Superintendent Shelly to Abbeylara. He also contacted Detective Sergeant Aidan Foley, Athlone garda station, and requested him to assemble armed gardaı´ and to go to the scene as soon as he could. While he stated that he had not given consideration to the number of armed gardaı´ that might be necessary to deal with the incident at that time, he anticipated a requirement of somewhere in the region of nine or ten armed officers. He was not aware of the number of gardaı´ that might be available until they arrived at the scene.
Superintendent Byrne contacts Superintendent Shelly. Further assistance is obtained
On his way to the scene, Superintendent Shelly was contacted on his mobile phone by Superintendent Byrne who informed him that he had been in touch with Inspector Martin Maguire who was stationed at that time in Longford. Superintendent Shelly requested Superintendent Byrne to arrange for armed gardaı´ from the Longford area to proceed to Granard. It was his understanding that approximately two or three gardaı´ at most, would be available from Longford. He anticipated getting three from each source.
Superintendent Shelly arrives in Granard
When Superintendent Shelly arrived at Granard garda station, Inspector Maguire was present, as were Detective Garda Jack Kilroy and Detective Garda Gerard Barrins from Longford. Garda Gorman informed him of what had happened at the scene. Superintendent Shelly did not previously know John Carthy. He was not given any information on whether he had a criminal record and he did not make inquiries at that time. He stated in evidence: ‘‘to be honest, it was a question of getting as much information as we could in a very short space of time and to get down to the scene and to look after things out there’’.
He did not, at that time, make any inquiries as to any dealings that the gardaı´ may have had with John Carthy. He later became aware that the subject had a legally held shotgun. There is no garda station in Abbeylara and therefore people from Abbeylara attend Granard for renewal of firearm certificates. No information was brought to Superintendent Shelly’s attention in Granard garda station, nor was there any discussion of the fact that there had been an issue in 1998 regarding John Carthy’s firearm. There was no formal discussion as to what was going to be done. The main priority, he stated, was to get to the scene to assess what was happening and to put a strategy in place to deal with the event. Superintendent Shelly directed the officers there to go to the scene. He requested Garda Gorman to inform the gardaı´ from Athlone, who had not yet arrived, to follow them to the scene. He was, he said, concerned about the safety of his officers and was aware of the predicament in which they had found themselves. He ‘‘remembered thinking that Detective Garda Campbell and Garda Gibbons, because of where they were, might be in some difficulty’’.
Chief Superintendent Tansey contacts Superintendent Shelly
Superintendent Shelly received a telephone call from Chief Superintendent Tansey at approximately 6:50 p.m. He informed the chief superintendent that he believed the situation to be very dangerous and that he had contacted a number of stations looking for armed back-up. He informed his superior that a number of shots had been fired and that the patrol car had been struck. He told him that when he got to the scene he would evaluate what was happening and would report back. There was no discussion regarding the potential involvement of the ERU at that time.
Superintendent Shelly arrives at the scene
The car Superintendent Shelly travelled in was parked outside Walsh’s house. He was met by Sergeant Dooley and Sergeant Mangan, and both he and Inspector Maguire were informed that John Carthy was still in the house, and that he was alone. Superintendent Shelly stated that he was glad to hear this because he now knew that he was not dealing with a hostage situation. He was also informed of the locations of Garda Campbell and Garda Gibbons who were near the gable-end of the Carthy house. Superintendent Shelly was not aware of the precise number of gardaı´ who were present at the scene when he arrived. There were at least two sergeants, Garda Campbell, Garda Gibbons and his own men. However, there were other uniformed gardaı´ present as well. Adjacent houses had been evacuated by Garda White and two other uniformed gardaı´. Check points were established. Garda White had been on his own in the early stages and had attempted to divert traffic away from the scene. Superintendent Shelly detailed Sergeant Mangan to make contact with Garda Campbell and Garda Gibbons, to direct them to come back from the point which they were at, if it was safe to do so. Both gardaı´ then withdrew. Superintendent Shelly proceeded to the area of the ESB pole at the boundary of the Carthy and Burke properties and saw the unmarked garda car in the Carthy driveway. Inspector Maguire stated that he learned from Sergeants Dooley and Mangan that Mrs. Carthy and the Walsh family had been interviewed and that Mrs. Carthy was afraid that her son might harm himself and that they were afraid for their own safety.
Garda press office notified
Chief Superintendent Tansey telephoned Sergeant Ronan Farrelly of the Garda press office at approximately 6:55 p.m. and informed him of the incident. He told the Tribunal that he was concerned to ensure that the press office heard of the incident from him rather than from a radio or television news broadcast. Sergeant Farrelly transmitted this information to his colleagues in the office and subsequently contacted the Garda Press Officer, Superintendent John Farrelly. Calls were received over the course of the evening to this office from members of the press inquiring into ‘‘what was happening in County Longford’’. Sergeant Farrelly also confirmed that it was possible that confirmation of the occurrence of the incident emanated from his office shortly before the matter was broadcast on TV3 at approximately 7:12 p.m. This is the first evidence of the matter being broadcast nationally. Sergeant Farrelly stated that the press office did not contact the media in an unsolicited way. Superintendent Farrelly confirmed to the Tribunal that the Garda Code requires that
divisional and district officers should promptly notify the Garda press office of incidents that are likely to attract national or international media attention.
Other senior officers are informed and the services of the ERU are requested
At approximately 7:00 p.m. Chief Superintendent Tansey contacted Assistant Commissioner Tony Hickey and discussed the matter with him. The latter raised the issue of calling in the ERU and referred to a previous incident, which occurred at Bawnboy, Co. Cavan. Chief Superintendent Tansey told the Tribunal that at that time he had no more detail of the Bawnboy incident than what he had read in the newspapers, but that Assistant Commissioner Hickey was familiar with it and he went through it in detail with him. At 7:10 p.m. Chief Superintendent Tansey telephoned Superintendent Shelly for an update on the situation. He then telephoned Detective Chief Superintendent Basil Walsh, who was the officer in charge of the Special Detective Unit in Dublin, whose responsibilities included overall command of the ERU, and informed him of the position. Chief Superintendent Walsh informed Chief Superintendent Tansey that he would have to assess the situation and would telephone him back.
Chief Superintendent Walsh subsequently telephoned Chief Superintendent Tansey and informed him that he was sending to the scene Detective Sergeant Michael Jackson, a member of the ERU, who was a trained negotiator. He had just returned from a negotiating course with the London Metropolitan Police which had taken place in March, 2000. He also informed Chief Superintendent Tansey that he was sending members of the ERU with Sergeant Jackson, but did not inform him of the number of members of the unit directed to attend. At approximately 8:00 p.m. Chief Superintendent Tansey phoned Superintendent Shelly to inform him that a request had been made that the ERU be deployed to the scene; which request had been granted, and that a unit was on its way together with a negotiator, Sergeant Jackson. Superintendent Shelly agreed that the first occasion upon which he became aware that the assistance of the ERU had been sought was after the decision had been made in this regard by Assistant Commissioner Hickey and Chief Superintendent Tansey. However, he stated that he had ‘‘absolutely no difficulty’’ with that and in fact ‘‘I was glad to hear it’’. He agreed that he did not have any involvement in the request for their services. Superintendent Shelly was not at that stage given information as to what role the ERU would play at the scene. He confirmed that Chief Superintendent Tansey just told him that given the circumstances which had been outlined by him that the ERU ‘‘were coming’’. The intent was, however, that because of his rank he would continue as scene commander. He did not agree that the decision to call in the ERU was one which was made ‘‘without reference’’ to him. He believed that the information which he had earlier conveyed to Chief Superintendent Tansey was information upon which that decision was based. He accepted that Chief Superintendent Tansey and Assistant Commissioner Hickey did not ‘‘ring me up and say what do you think? They made it on the information — on the basis of the information I gave them and I was happy with that’’. If the situation had gone on much further, ‘‘maybe I would have suggested it to either Chief
Superintendent Tansey or Assistant Commissioner Hickey that consideration be given to it’’, he stated.
Assistant Commissioner Hickey described his operational role as involving the coordination of operations within his region. While he delegated tasks, he nevertheless retained responsibility for what happened in any operation or investigation. The factors that weighed in his mind when he made the decision to request the assistance of the ERU were that the unit had a trained negotiator; darkness was approaching, and the unit would have additional equipment that local officers would not have; the relative inexperience of the local officers; and the fact that the ERU would know each other, were used to working as a unit and a team, and had tactics for such situations based on training and experience.
Superintendent Shelly confirmed that he was in contact with Assistant Commissioner Hickey that evening. He informed him of the situation; that shots had been discharged, and that the situation was dangerous and volatile. He informed him that he had a plan of containment in place; that checkpoints had been established, and that they were going to commence negotiation. He did not receive any advice from Assistant Commissioner Hickey at that time and he felt that he was happy ‘‘that I was in control and he was happy with the plan that I had in place and we worked on from there’’.
Superintendent Shelly is briefed by Garda Gibbons and Detective Garda Campbell
Between 7:00 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. after Garda Gibbons and Garda Campbell were withdrawn from the area near the house, Superintendent Shelly spoke to them. According to his evidence they went through the situation with him. Garda Gibbons informed him that they had spoken to Mrs. Carthy and that there were five women in the house when they first arrived. He was informed that Mrs. Carthy had told Garda Gibbons that her son had put her out of the house and that a number of shots had been discharged. Garda Gibbons also informed Superintendent Shelly that Mrs. Carthy and the other ladies were in fear of what might happen to them and that they were afraid that the subject might come back up the road and shoot them. Garda Gibbons stated that he told Superintendent Shelly that Mrs. Carthy was afraid to give him her son’s mobile phone number because she was concerned that he might find out that she had given it to the gardaı´. However, she did in fact give them the number. Superintendent Shelly was also informed that Mr. Walsh was John Carthy’s best friend and his cousin, and that he would be a good person to talk to him. He also informed Superintendent Shelly that they had spoken to Dr. Cullen at the scene. Garda Gibbons’s evidence was that when he spoke to Superintendent Shelly sometime after 7:00 p.m., he informed him that Dr Cullen had indicated to Garda Gibbons that the subject might bear some animosity or might not be pleased to see the gardaı´. He stated, however, that he did not mention to Superintendent Shelly that there was a gun restoration file in Granard. Garda Gibbons also recounted in evidence that when he came from the Carthy house he met Superintendent Shelly at the back of Burke’s house and told him ‘‘all what had happened’’. He informed
the Superintendent of John Carthy’s condition; that he had been a patient in hospital, and how he had discharged shots.
Superintendent Shelly stated in evidence that Dr. Cullen had departed before his arrival and therefore he did not have an opportunity to talk with him at that time. He was questioned on whether either Garda Gibbons or Garda Campbell had informed him that they had been told by Dr. Cullen that John Carthy might not be pleased to see the gardaı´. He stated that there was no reference to that information at that stage and that he had no knowledge of this at that time. Later in the evening, he said, he became aware that there was a problem, that John Carthy ‘‘might have a problem with some of the gardaı´ but I didn’t know it the first time I spoke to them’’. Superintendent Shelly could not say for sure the time at which he became aware of John Carthy’s antipathy towards the Garda Sı´ocha´na. He stated that he became aware that there was some difficulty over him being arrested and blamed for the burning of a goat or a mascot. Although informed of this, he did not make any further inquiry about that incident. In evidence, he stated that he had arrived at the scene and ‘‘you could appreciate I had a lot of things to put in place’’.
Garda Campbell stated that he recounted to Superintendent Shelly what had happened but said that he did not inform him of the information he had received from Garda Gibbons when he had arrived at the scene. He believed that he probably told Superintendent Shelly about the shot striking the car but was unsure whether he mentioned this in connection with the mention by him of Dr. Cullen’s name to John Carthy.
Inspector Maguire meets Garda Gibbons and Detective Garda Campbell
Inspector Maguire met Garda Campbell and Garda Gibbons at the gable of Burke’s house and he was briefed by them. They also informed him of their conversations with Dr. Cullen and outlined what Dr. Cullen had said. Inspector Maguire stated that he did not learn of John Carthy’s antipathy towards the gardaı´ at that time. Garda Gibbons informed him of his visit to the Walsh household. He told Inspector Maguire that he had been informed by Mrs. Carthy that her son had put her out of the house and that she was in fear for her life. He stated that she told him also that he could be aggressive and that she had called the guards to calm him down. Inspector Maguire was also informed that he was a manic-depressive; that he was on medication and had been to St. Loman’s but did not like it there. He was not aware that John Carthy had been a patient of Dr. Shanley nor was he aware, at that time, that his shotgun had been taken by the gardaı´ and subsequently returned to him.
At around 9:30 p.m., Inspector Maguire became aware, from conversation with local officers, that John Carthy’s shotgun had been taken from him and subsequently returned to him some eighteen months previously. Inspector Maguire stated that he did not form any view or opinion of the subject’s attitude towards the gardaı´ when he learned of the mascot incident and the confiscation of the shotgun.
Containment by local officers begins — cordons established
Following the withdrawal of Garda Campbell and Garda Gibbons, Superintendent Shelly deployed armed gardaı´ to various locations around the house. Garda Kilroy and Garda Barrins, from Longford, were directed to the gable at the back of the house. He requested Garda Dunne to proceed to a position at the hedge between Farrell’s and Carthy’s. At approximately 7:1 5 p.m., Detective Sergeant Aidan Foley and his fellow officers arrived from Athlone. Superintendent Shelly directed Garda Campbell, Garda Gibbons and Garda Nolan to take up a position at the end of Burke’s house. Garda Gibbons believed that his function was to make sure that John Carthy did not come out and harm anyone. He was also told that no unauthorised people were to be allowed down the road, but his main function was to ‘‘keep an eye on the Carthy household’’. Superintendent Shelly instructed Garda Campbell to remain at Burke’s gable. He directed Sergeant Foley and a number of his men to take up positions at the ESB pole between Burke’s and Carthy’s. He deployed gardaı´ to five locations. This was what he described as ‘‘the inner cordon of armed people. That was the first cordon that was put in and they were put in place there to contain the situation’’. Superintendent Shelly was aware of the type of firearms that each garda had. A number were in possession of Uzi sub-machine guns and others were in possession of their standard issue .38 revolvers. When deploying personnel and in positioning them around the house, he tried to distribute what he described as the heavier firearm, the Uzi, as evenly as possible at locations around the house. Apart from flak jackets, they had no other equipment. All of the personnel around the house were in plain clothes. Superintendent Shelly stated that he was unaware of whether they had radios with them. Some of the uniformed gardaı´had radios, walkie-talkie radios, but ‘‘I don’t think that they had [referring to local armed gardaı´]’’. Superintendent Shelly also stated and confirmed that the manner in which orders or information might be communicated to the armed gardaı´ was by way of mobile phone, which he knew some of them had.
Instructions to local officers
Before deployment, Superintendent Shelly confirmed that he spoke to the gardaı´ as a group and instructed them as follows:
‘‘I told them thatI wanted to put in place, to achieve a cordon, an inner cordon of armed people, andI told them that my strategy was thatI wanted to contain the situation, to contain John Carthy in the house. In so doing I believed that while he was contained in the house the likelihood of danger or risk to anybody present was minimised. Then I told them that it was my intention to start to commence negotiations. I was, as I have said already, satisfied that the houses were evacuated...’’.
Superintendent Shelly was also asked what instructions he gave to his men if it happened that John Carthy emerged from the house. He replied:
‘‘I told them that two situations were likely. He could come out in whatI called a controlled manner, and if he came out in a controlled manner, he would be unarmed. We would confront him, subject him to arrest and search in a safe
manner. The second scenario was if he came out of the house in an uncontrolled manner. In that situation, John Carthy would have possession of his firearm. Again, I told them that in dealing with the uncontrolled exit, we would confront him, disarm him if possible in safety and subject him to arrest and search’’.
According to Superintendent Shelly the members who were present could not have been in any doubt as to the strategy to be employed at the scene.
Inspector Maguire was delegated by Superintendent Shelley to organise an outer cordon, consisting of checkpoints manned by uniformed gardaı´. Garda McGuinness set up a checkpoint on the Ballywillin side approximately 200 yards from Farrell’s house. Inspector Maguire later moved the checkpoint back about 600 or 700 yards and posted Garda Seamus Barrett to assist in manning the checkpoint. Garda Martin and Garda White had set up an initial checkpoint at the boundary between Burke’s and Walsh’s house and this checkpoint was moved back by Inspector Maguire approximately 1 50 to 1 70 yards towards Abbeylara. He then directed Garda Thomas Judge, who was in uniform and unarmed, to take up duty further out into the fields behind the Carthy house. At this initial stage, Inspector Maguire also directed Garda Charles Dunleavy to take up duty in the field at the back of Burke’s house. The purpose of stationing unarmed gardaı´ in the fields behind the houses was to prevent any members of the public gaining access to the scene from that direction. Inspector Maguire gave instructions to the uniformed gardaı´ that they were to prevent any person coming into the area and in the event of any developments they were to seek cover immediately and not present themselves as targets. Inspector Maguire communicated to the uniformed members that the plain-clothes members would deal with John Carthy and that their function was to man checkpoints and to prevent people from accessing the scene. Inspector Maguire also placed another checkpoint in the vicinity of the church in order to prevent members of the media from encroaching on the scene. At the same time he informed the uniformed members, who were at the rear of the houses, to be on the alert for the media.
Inspector Maguire and Superintendent Shelly decided to maintain the presence of uniformed officers in the vicinity of Burke’s and Walsh’s houses, and on the roadway around the two houses. The rationale for so doing, it was stated, was that in the event of John Carthy’s emergence he would be ‘‘reassured’’ by the presence of uniformed gardaı´ and would not be confronted solely by armed plain-clothes gardaı´. Inspector Maguire was conscious that there was a risk in positioning these uniformed officers at that location. However, he did not consider it a major risk at that particular time and considered that there was a benefit to having uniformed gardaı´ present there.
Controlled and uncontrolled exit
Superintendent Shelly described a ‘‘controlled exit’’ as one where the subject came out of the house without his shotgun, or with his arms in the air, or in some manner by which he was indicating compliance with instructions. He described an
‘‘uncon trolled exit’’ as the subject coming out of the house armed with his firearm. He stated that he had envisaged two scenarios. First, if his firearm was broken open John Carthy would be considered less of a threat than if the firearm was closed. He also confirmed that in his instructions to the gardaı´ at the scene he distinguished between a situation where John Carthy might come out of the house with the shotgun broken and a situation where he might emerge from the house with a shotgun in the ready position. In either event, with the shotgun broken or unbroken, it would be an uncontrolled exit. The strategy, he stated, was to confront John Carthy, attempt to disarm him in safety and subject him to arrest and search. It was an individual decision as to what action members might take, given the degree of danger they might have felt that they or others were in. Confronting the subject meant that the gardaı´ would identify themselves as armed gardaı´, and call on him to submit to arrest and search and to ask him to drop his firearm. He did not specifically tell this to the members present because ‘‘I knew that they would understand that. These are all people who are trained in firearms and that they would readily understand what was meant’’. He stated that each member had an understanding of what they were to do. Superintendent Shelly told the Tribunal that if John Carthy did not submit to arrest, that it was his understanding that the members would ‘‘have to try’’ to contain the situation, to stay with him, pleading with him and asking him at all times to do what they set out to do — to try to disarm him safely and in a peaceful manner. That, he said, would ‘‘continue for as long as it would continue’’.
Superintendent Shelly was also questioned whether at that stage, 7:1 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., there was any discussion concerning keeping the area between the outer cordon and inner cordon free of any unarmed personnel. He said that there was not. However, he stated that anybody who was there had a function. He confirmed that he understood that it was important that no civilians could get through the checkpoints, apart from the people who were living there, but they would not get further than Walsh’s house. He did not consider it necessary to issue an instruction to keep unarmed gardaı´ out of the area between the inner and outer cordon.
Garda Campbell’s evidence in relation to the instruction he received individually from Superintendent Shelly was that when he was at the gable wall of Burke’s house he was told that John Carthy was to be contained within the house while attempts were made to negotiate with him. Containment was to be achieved by placing armed officers around the house. He was also told that if John Carthy came out on the side that he was on and gave himself up, he would have to go in and deal with the situation. He understood that if the subject came out in a ‘‘controlled’’ manner, that is to say without a gun, he was to be arrested and searched. If he came out in an ‘‘uncontrolled’’ manner, that is with the shotgun, his instruction from Superintendent Shelly was to confront him and take whatever measures were necessary to try and get the shotgun from him. His recollection was that Superintendent Shelly, in his instructions, did not make any distinction between the situation where the shotgun was a threat, or not a threat, but he understood that if he came out in an uncontrolled way, he was a threat. Whether there was an immediate threat or not would be for him, Garda Campbell, to decide in accordance with training and the regulations. He
did not receive any further instructions on this matter when Superintendent Byrne came on duty at midnight.
Sergeant Dooley and Sergeant Mangan seek further information from Mrs. Carthy
Following the withdrawal of Garda Gibbons and Garda Campbell, Superintendent Shelly requested Sergeant Dooley and Sergeant Mangan to go to the Mahon household to speak to the family and to Mrs. Carthy ‘‘to find out for me as much information as they could about him and what generally had happened’’ and to obtain any information which might assist in the resolution of the incident. They were also directed to ascertain the layout of the house and any information that might be available about his firearm and the amount of ammunition which he might have. Sergeant Mangan rang the Mahon household to alert the people there that they were on their way to see them.
When they arrived at Mahon’s house, Rose Carthy, Ann Walsh, Alice Farrell and Patricia Mahon were present. Although the two sergeants spoke to the people present as a group, most of the questions were addressed to Mrs. Carthy. The sergeants were there for approximately one hour. During this time Sergeant Mangan left on two occasions. According to Sergeant Dooley, Ms Alice Farrell in particular, and to a lesser extent, Ms Ann Walsh answered questions. Sergeant Dooley stated that he reassured Mrs. Carthy that no one had been hurt; that her son was uninjured; that the gardaı´ would continue to maintain that situation and do their best to get him out safe and well. Sergeant Dooley inquired as to what had caused him to behave in the manner that he had, but, he said, the family could not offer any reason for this behaviour. He was informed that John Carthy had been drinking and there was, he said, talk of the availability of alcohol in the house. The sergeants also inquired as to who was the best person who might be called on to intervene and to whom John Carthy might listen. Thomas Walsh was mentioned by the family and Sergeant Dooley stated that they were told that Mr. Walsh was working in Cork and that he was on his way to the scene. Sergeant Dooley also stated that they discussed John Carthy’s mental health with the family and they were informed that he had manic depression. They were told that he was on prescribed drugs and the drug lithium, he said, was mentioned. He further stated that he inquired as to whether John Carthy had been in a psychiatric hospital and was informed that he had been treated in St. Loman’s on more than one occasion. He was not told, however, the identity of the treating specialist. Sergeant Dooley could not recall whether there was a discussion concerning more recent treatment in St. Patrick’s hospital under Dr. Shanley. He stated in evidence that he suggested to the family that a possible motive for John Carthy’s actions was anxiety to avoid going back to St. Loman’s. The family agreed that it was a possible reason why he was behaving as he was. It was indicated to him that he did not like St. Loman’s. Sergeant Dooley did not take notes of this interview.
Sergeant Dooley also made inquiries of the family as to the number of firearms and ammunition in the house. He was informed that the subject had one weapon, a double-barrelled shotgun, but those present were unable to be specific about the
amount of ammunition. Also he made inquiries as to where he purchased his ammunition and he was informed that it was most likely purchased in Longford. He also learned that there were a number of local firearm dealers, Jerome Reynolds in Ballinalee and Deniston’s in Longford. From his inquiries, he stated that he had formed the view that John Carthy probably had about one box of ammunition. Sergeant Dooley inquired whether the subject could do harm to himself or others. They were unable to give him assurance one way or the other, he stated. He noted the concerns of the family over media coverage, occurring as it did within two hours of the event, which they felt would be very upsetting for Mrs. Carthy.
Sergeant Dooley also asked if they could draw a rough sketch of the house including a layout of the rooms within. However, he felt that the map drawn was inadequate and confusing and he did not show it to Superintendent Shelly. He ascertained that there was only one external door to the house and informed Superintendent Shelly of its location. Sergeant Dooley informed the Carthy family that the gardaı´ had professional negotiators available to assist. When he returned to the scene, he stated that he relayed all of the information received to Superintendent Shelly.
Sergeant Mangan recounted that Mrs. Carthy could not give any explanation for her son’s behaviour. She got the impression from Mrs. Carthy that it was not unusual for him to fire shots out the back of the house but that her concern had arisen when he asked her to leave the house and to go to Nancy Walsh’s. Sergeant Mangan learned that Mrs. Carthy was satisfied that her son was taking his medication as prescribed. Sergeant Mangan was also told about his sister, Marie, who worked in Galway. The family were anxious that she should be present. Sergeant Mangan left the house for approximately fifteen to twenty minutes to make arrangements for the transportation of Marie Carthy to the scene.
Sergeant Mangan said that there was no reference to Dr. Shanley during her conversations with members of the family or to the fact that John Carthy had a psychiatric appointment in Dublin the following day. She left the house at approximately 7:40 p.m.
Ms Ann Walsh’s recollection of events was that a female garda arrived at the Mahon house at approximately 7:30 p.m. She stated that there was a conversation concerning the incident having been reported in the media and, while she had not heard the news herself, that this was going to be ‘‘absolutely detrimental’’ to her cousin, ‘‘hearing that on the news’’. She inquired of the garda as to who had called the media and it was confirmed to her that it was not the gardaı´. She stated that later she informed the garda that the landline had been disconnected and asked ‘‘could they have it reconnected because Aunt Rosie kept saying that John’s battery would go flat on the mobile’’. She stated that she also informed the garda that her brother, Thomas, was on his way from Cork to talk to the subject and that he was the closest person to him. Earlier, at approximately 6:30 p.m., her brother had contacted her by telephone and informed her that he was making arrangements to drive to the scene from Cork. She stated that she conveyed information regarding his dislike for the gardaı´ to two ‘‘ban ghardaı´’’. Ms Walsh confirmed that the garda was in Mahon’s for
‘‘possibly an hour, maybe longer’’. Ms Walsh also stated in evidence, that at some unspecified time early in the evening, a male garda told her that the professionals were on their way down. She stated that she thought that this was a reference to psychiatrists and psychologists. Mrs. Carthy gave evidence of speaking to a female garda (apparently this was Sergeant Mangan) and Sergeant Dooley, but could not remember the content of the conversations. Mrs. Carthy confirmed that she was concerned for everybody’s safety. Ms Ann Walsh stated also that she told Sergeant Mangan that her cousin would be conscious of the gardaı´ using a loudhailer to communicate with him. Sergeant Mangan did not recall these concerns being raised.
Information from Sergeants Dooley and Mangan transmitted to Superintendent Shelly
The information which had been obtained by Sergeant Dooley and Sergeant Mangan from Mrs. Carthy was relayed to Superintendent Shelly. He was told that the subject was a manic-depressive and that he was on lithium. He was also informed that Mrs. Carthy had said that she could not give any guarantee that he would not hurt himself, or anybody else. She informed them that he had been drinking and that he did not like St. Loman’s hospital, Mullingar. Inspector Maguire was present when Sergeant Dooley and Sergeant Mangan returned from interviewing Mrs. Carthy and the rest of the family. His impression was that they found the family to be ‘‘vague’’.
Superintendent Farrelly and Superintendent Byrne are contacted
Some time after 8:00 p.m., Chief Superintendent Tansey received a call from Superintendent Farrelly, the Garda Press Officer. Chief Superintendent Tansey invited him to come to Abbeylara to take charge of dealing with the media. Additionally, at about that time, Chief Superintendent Tansey spoke to Superintendent Byrne to see if he, Superintendent Byrne, could come to the scene.
Marie Carthy is contacted
Ms Walsh stated in evidence that she spoke to Sergeant Mangan about letting the subject’s sister know about the incident. It appears that no one had contacted her before this. She was working in Galway at the time. Ms Walsh did not want to call her until transport had been arranged, as she did not want to have her upset in Galway, with no transport available. Sergeant Mangan left the Mahon house to speak to Superintendent Shelly about transport. He directed her to contact the Garda in Galway to arrange transport; which she did. She then returned to the Mahon household. Ms Walsh confirmed that Sergeant Mangan informed her that transport arrangements had been made and that she could now call Marie Carthy to inform her of what was happening. It should be noted that at this stage Sergeant Mangan did not consider herself to have been an appointed family liaison officer, although she accepted that this situation had developed.
Martin Shelly (‘‘Pepper’’) is contacted
Mr. Martin Shelly received a telephone call from Ms Walsh at approximately 8:00 p.m. He stated that Ms Walsh was attempting to make contact with Marie Carthy and was having difficulty getting through to her on her mobile telephone. Mr. Shelly also spoke with Mrs. Rose Carthy at that time who he thought seemed anxious to get in touch with her daughter. Marie Carthy then received a telephone call from Ms Walsh who informed her of the events in Abbeylara. She telephoned Mr. Shelly who immediately went to her house. Ms Walsh described Marie Carthy as being very upset. The latter, she said, wished to come to Abbeylara straight away. Sergeant Mangan agreed to a request from Marie Carthy that Mr. Shelly be permitted to accompany her to the scene.
Marie Carthy and Martin Shelly are transported to the scene
At approximately 9:00 p.m., two members of the Garda Sı´ocha´na stationed in Salthill collected Marie Carthy and Martin Shelly from her home in Galway and drove them to Abbeylara. En route to Abbeylara, she attempted to telephone her brother on his mobile phone, but was unable to make contact as the telephone was not answered.
Shots from the house during this period
Approximately seven shots were discharged by John Carthy after the arrival of Superintendent Shelly and before the arrival of the ERU (14 shots had been discharged by him before Superintendent Shelly arrived; four of these having been discharged before the arrival of the first responders). On at least one occasion Superintendent Shelly noticed dust rising from the wall in front of the Carthy house, close to where a number of his men were located and that gave rise to concern. He was asked what action did he take and he stated that the people were instructed to be careful, and
‘‘they remained in position. . .obviously the degree of fear that was there would have been heightened. One shot would have been bad enough but to have that many shots discharged in that manner in a relatively short period of time would have been cause for concern, but I was quite satisfied that the gardaı´ on duty, the armed gardaı´, would be able to contain the situation’’.
Telephone landline is reconnected
Superintendent Shelly had been made aware that the house telephone landline had been disconnected. He made arrangements to have the line reconnected. The reconnection of the telephone line did not entail any physical intervention at the scene, but was arranged at the telephone exchange.
Attempted negotiations by Superintendent Shelly and Sergeant Dooley
Sergeant Mangan received a call on her mobile phone from Sergeant Jackson who was travelling to Abbeylara from Dublin and who told her that he was trying to contact Superintendent Shelly at the scene, but was unable to do so. Sergeant
Jackson, she said, was anxious to give Superintendent Shelly some advice on negotiation and how to get that underway. She stated that he was anxious that she would contact Superintendent Shelly with a view to him moving to a different location where the reception would be better. She drove to the scene and spoke to Superintendent Shelly. Sergeant Jackson then made telephone contact with the superintendent, who gave him background information and details of the incident. He informed him that John Carthy was a 27 year old single man who was living with his mother. He was a manic-depressive, and was taking the lithium which had been prescribed for him. Sergeant Jackson was also informed that he had fired shots, including one at a garda patrol car, and that there were no hostages. He was told that his mother had been ‘‘put out of the house after some argument’’, with the subject. Sergeant Jackson further stated that he was informed that Mrs. Carthy feared for her own safety, and for the safety of others, and that she was not sure what her son might do. He said that he had been told about Dr. Cullen’s presence at the scene, ‘‘but nothing more than that’’. He was informed by Superintendent Shelly that negotiations had been attempted but to no avail. He advised Superintendent Shelly that he should delegate somebody to speak to John Carthy and he was informed that Sergeant Dooley had undertaken this task. Sergeant Jackson then spoke to Sergeant Dooley and gave him advice as to how to initiate and carry on negotiations.
Superintendent Shelly informed Sergeant Jackson that he was going to talk to John Carthy through the megaphone. Although the superintendent was aware that the subject had a mobile phone, he did not attempt to contact him via the phone. He asked Sergeant Jackson how he should conduct those negotiations. Sergeant Jackson advised him to address John Carthy on first name terms, to introduce himself to John Carthy:
‘‘he told me to call him by his first name and to tell him who we were and what we wanted to achieve. Generally to try to convey to him that no matter what had happened, we could talk about it and we could sort something out’’.
Superintendent Shelly agreed that he did not discuss the use of the mobile phone or landline with Sergeant Jackson. As far as he could recall, he thought that he had spoken to Sergeant Jackson first, before commencing negotiations. He was not sure of this and agreed that negotiations may have commenced before he spoke to Sergeant Jackson. He stated that if he did speak to the subject before the contact from the negotiator, it was very brief. He confirmed, however, that he knew ‘‘generally’’ how to talk to people in such a situation:
‘‘what he told me wasn’t a whole lot different from whatI knew already, butI suppose when he talked about issues like personalising the thing. . .and you call yourself Joe and refer to him as John rather than use garda speak’’.
These initial attempts at negotiation were conducted from the ESB pole between the Burke and Carthy houses, because:
‘‘while I wanted to talk to him and I felt it was important thatI talk to him and open negotiations with him, nevertheless, I didn’t andI couldn’t put myself in danger, so I felt thatI was safe there in that area’’.
While Sergeant Jackson was ‘‘... far more experienced and better at it than I would be’’, Superintendent Shelly’s initial communication with John Carthy was along the same lines as that advised by Sergeant Jackson. He introduced himself and informed him of his identity. He continued:
‘‘I asked him to throw the gun out the window on a number of occasions. I tried to explain to him that basically no matter what had happened, it wasn’t the end of the world and we could sort something out. At all times I conveyed to him that it was our wish to bring the matter to a peaceful resolution andI was hoping that that would be a quick resolution as well’’.
He confirmed that he asked John Carthy to throw out the gun ‘‘almost immediately’’ after introducing himself. Superintendent Shelly stated in evidence that the gun would have to be thrown out, ‘‘yes the gun was a problem, and there was no point saying otherwise, I wanted him to throw that gun out the window’’. He did not agree, however, that the impression was conveyed to the subject that the gun would have to be thrown out before further discussions could take place. The gun, he stated, was ‘‘part of it’’ but he stated that he was going to ‘‘talk to him anyway’’. He stated in evidence that if the gun was thrown out they would be ‘‘a long way’’ towards resolution of the situation. Superintendent Shelly confirmed that he wanted to try to get through to John Carthy, to connect with him and to open some dialogue with him. He stated that the subject responded by firing two shots out of the window. Superintendent Shelly told the Tribunal that he ceased attempting to negotiate sometime after 9:00 p.m.
Sergeant Dooley spoke to Sergeant Jackson shortly after he had returned from the Mahon house and the latter told him how best to make use of the megaphone. He stated that he was informed that it was important to commence dialogue as soon as possible and that he was told to ‘‘call himself Tom’’ during attempted negotiations. Sergeant Dooley stated that Sergeant Jackson emphasised to him the importance of assuring John Carthy that no harm had been done; that nobody was injured; telling him that the gardaı´ were there to help him, and asking him in what way they could assist him. Sergeant Dooley had no prior negotiation experience. He proceeded to the ESB pole and commenced attempting to make contact. Sergeant Dooley told John Carthy who he was. He emphasised, he stated, that no one had been hurt, that they were there to help him and to listen to what he had to say. Sergeant Dooley heard two shots being fired in response. He again attempted to make contact but got no response. He was at the ESB pole for approximately three periods of ten minutes. He stated that Superintendent Shelly and he rotated their attempts at negotiation during this time. He heard Superintendent Shelly asking John Carthy to throw out the gun.
Superintendent Shelly’s knowledge of the availability of Garda negotiators
Superintendent Shelly was aware that there were non-ERU trained negotiators in the Eastern Region, possibly in Carlow and Portlaoise, but none in the Longford/ Westmeath Division. He did not consider contacting those negotiators.
Members of the Emergency Response Unit are deployed to the scene
Detective Sergeant Jackson and Detective Garda Sullivan
Sergeant Jackson received a call on his mobile phone from his supervisor, Detective Inspector Patrick Hogan. He was informed that there was a siege in Abbeylara and he was directed to go to the scene as garda negotiator with Garda Michael Sullivan as his assistant. He was told that a man had fired shots, was in his house and was refusing to come out. He was also told that there was no other individual in the house. This information was relayed to Garda Sullivan by Sergeant Jackson. He stated in evidence that he told Garda Sullivan that his functions as assistant were to maintain a log of events in relation to the negotiation and to liaise with the scene commander regarding the flow of vital information. He said that in addition they discussed Garda Sullivan’s role of briefing any intermediaries or other non-Garda personnel, who may become involved in the negotiations. Garda Sullivan stated that he understood that his duties included note-taking and liaising with the scene commander. He was informed by Sergeant Jackson that there may be other duties that he would have to perform, but that this would emerge as the matter developed. He did not anticipate that he would be personally involved in negotiating. They drove to the scene, leaving headquarters at Harcourt Square, Dublin at approximately 8:00 p.m. Prior to leaving, they gathered together their equipment including specialised clothing, communications equipment, lighting material, a flip chart and tape recorder.
Detective Sergeant Gerard Russell is contacted and travels to the scene
Sergeant Russell commenced duty at 3:00 p.m. on 19th April and was based in the Dublin area. He received a call at approximately 7:40 p.m. from Inspector Hogan and was informed by him that a man had discharged a legally held firearm in the direction of gardaı´, who had been responding to a domestic disturbance in Abbeylara. He did not receive further information concerning the subject’s state of health or background until he arrived at the scene where he was briefed by Superintendent Shelly. Sergeant Russell was aware, however, that no hostage had been taken.
He was instructed by Inspector Hogan to select three detective gardaı´ and the necessary equipment for a situation such as this, which he then believed to be a barricaded incident, and to travel to the scene.
During the course of his evidence, Inspector Hogan stated that he cautioned Sergeant Russell in relation to any activity which he might carry out at the scene, by way of containment or reconnaissance and that he was to avoid confrontation with John Carthy ‘‘at all costs’’. Sergeant Russell stated that while he could recall being advised to avoid confrontation, he was unsure about the expression ‘‘at all costs’’, because it would be difficult for him to accept such an instruction given the fact that he did not know the circumstances in which he might find himself. He fully understood, however, that his instructions were to avoid confrontation, if possible. He understood this to mean that the ERU was not to initiate any tactical response to engage the subject, or to offer a tactical intervention at that time, such as, for example, to invade the house. He was also informed that Sergeant Jackson and
Garda Sullivan had been deployed and he stated that he understood, and was informed by Inspector Hogan, that his role was to:
‘‘provide a secure and safe environment so that negotiations could be carried on in the safest possible manner, considering the actual situation as it prevailed which was a serious or dangerous one’’.
Equipment brought to scene
Sergeant Russell instructed his colleague Detective Garda Ronan Carey to sign out two Uzi sub-machine guns, one Bennelli semi-automatic shotgun and one Heckler & Koch .33 rifle, together with necessary ammunition. He informed Detective Garda Oliver Flaherty, a trained first aider, to take the necessary first-aid kit and technical equipment for a siege or a barricaded incident, the latter equipment being night-vision equipment and some pyrotechnics. In his evidence, Sergeant Russell explained that the latter are distraction devices and are more commonly known as stun grenades. They are similar in appearance to a grenade, but they do not fragment on impact. Their function is purely to create noise and flash. They are used to create distraction and confusion in order to afford a team member time and opportunity to engage in some other action. Such grenades are thrown by hand and have a pin reliever which must be engaged. There are two types of such grenade, one with steel casing and the other with aluminium casing. The latter, according to Sergeant Russell, had a tendency to be unstable and to move. He preferred not to use it because it was difficult to control. On this occasion, they brought grenades with steel casing. Sergeant Russell confirmed that depending on the proximity of the person and the area where they are thrown, such devices could in fact cause injury. He also instructed Detective Garda Tony Ryan to sign out the necessary breaching equipment required for an incident with ‘‘a barricaded suspect or a siege type situation’’. Breaching is the technical term for a forced entry to a premises. Cold breaching involves the use of equipment or implements other than explosives. Garda Ryan was the unit breacher. He brought cold breaching equipment.
The numbers of ERU team members
Sergeant Russell regarded four tactical officers as an appropriate number of personnel to respond to the situation, given that they were aware that they were dealing with one individual. If he had thought it appropriate to have a greater deployment of members, he would have requested it.
Detective Sergeant Russell’s evidence on his role
Sergeant Russell stated that he was aware that Sergeant Jackson was a trained negotiator and that he was conscious of the two distinct roles that he and Sergeant Jackson would play. His role was that of tactical team leader; Sergeant Jackson was responding as a negotiator. He stated that he had no real function to play within the negotiation role and that he had no qualifications or training in that area. He confirmed in evidence that there was dialogue throughout the course of the incident between Sergeant Jackson and himself in relation to the strategy to be adopted. In particular, he stated that he spoke to Sergeant Jackson whenever he had concerns for safety or security. He was informed by the negotiator that he should be aware of
the issues that he (Sergeant Jackson) was dealing with and to try to respond with those considerations in mind. In relation to the issue of the location of the negotiation point he explained to the Tribunal that he would ‘‘prefer if it was . . . as safe as possible’’ but that he would have to bear in mind Sergeant Jackson’s ‘‘particular issues or concerns that he may wish to get as close as possible to engage in dialogue’’.
Lighting is brought to the scene
Superintendent Shelly believed that John Carthy, if he wanted to, would have a better chance at getting out of the house under the cover of darkness. He therefore felt that lighting should be brought to the scene. Lighting was arranged and put in place some time shortly after 9:00 p.m. It was placed in the garden of Burke’s house and a further light was placed shining towards the front of the house. Superintendent Shelly agreed that the generators which powered the lighting created noise.
Arrival of Chief Superintendent Tansey at the scene
Chief Superintendent Tansey told the Tribunal that it was his policy to visit the scene of any serious incident that takes place or happens in his division and that he went to the scene to observe the strategies that Superintendent Shelly had in place for the peaceful resolution of the incident. He saw his role as ‘‘consultancy insofar as Superintendent Shelly was concerned and to assist him in whatever wayI could. I was also there to support my own people, to support Superintendent Shelly and all of my people on the ground there.’’ He saw his role as consultative, advisory and supportive, but not one that had any involvement in the preparation of the strategy or the operational activities that would ensue therefrom. These were part of the role of the scene commander, in this case Superintendent Shelly, who outlined his plans to Chief Superintendent Tansey. He told the Tribunal that if he had not agreed with those plans, there would be a discussion between himself and Superintendent Shelly but this did not occur. He saw no reason to add to the plan prepared by the scene commander.
When asked what he understood Chief Superintendent Tansey’s function at the scene to be, Superintendent Shelly stated that he saw his role as being a consultative one. Although Chief Superintendent Tansey was now the senior officer at the scene, Superintendent Shelly confirmed that he continued to be the person with responsibility for overall operational command:
‘‘Chief Superintendent Tansey... is in charge of the division but it was my responsibility, I was in charge. It doesn’t follow that because he is the chief, which is a rank higher than me, that he would assume charge when he came or if Commissioner Hickey came, that he was in charge then, that is not the case. I was the one taxed with that responsibility. I was the person in charge and they would depend on me to see that everything was O.K. and that things were run properly’’.
With regard to the role of Chief Superintendent Tansey, Superintendent Shelly understood that:
‘‘his role was to ensure to be happy himself, as the divisional officer, that everything that I was doing and the people under my command was correct, and that everything insofar as it was possible was running smoothly’’.
Any decisions to be taken, said Superintendent Shelly, would be based on consensus, but in any event he said there was no difficulty between the senior officers at the scene in relation to any decisions taken.
When Chief Superintendent Tansey arrived at the scene at 9:00 p.m. he met Superintendent Shelly and Inspector Maguire and was updated on the situation. There was, he said, no pre-prepared plan for dealing with situations such as this. He said that he agreed with Superintendent Shelly that the policy should be one of containment and negotiation. He also agreed with the establishment of an inner and outer cordon and with the manner in which Superintendent Shelly had allocated and positioned his armed officers. Inspector Maguire gave him details of the duties that had been assigned to the various members that were on duty at the scene and Chief Superintendent Tansey approved of these. There was no discussion at that stage between Chief Superintendent Tansey and Superintendent Shelly as to the designation of a command post.
Chief Superintendent Tansey stated that he was present when Superintendent Shelly began to speak to John Carthy. He observed that after the first two or three sentences of Superintendent Shelly’s attempt, two shots rang out. He was present when Sergeant Dooley began negotiations and he heard him introducing himself and asking what the problem was. He then heard Sergeant Dooley ask the subject to ‘‘please throw out the gun and bring this thing to a conclusion’’. The sergeant, he confirmed, got no response to these requests.
Thomas Walsh arrives at the scene and meets members of the Garda Sı´ocha´na
Shortly after 9:00 p.m. Thomas Walsh arrived in Abbeylara from Cork. He was allowed through a checkpoint and went to the brow of the hill outside his mother’s house where he met Garda Gibbons. Garda Gibbons informed him of the developments to date and of the garda response. The former inquired of Mr. Walsh whether he knew what was upsetting John Carthy. Mr. Walsh stated in evidence that he told Garda Gibbons that his cousin had animosity towards the gardaı´ as a result of his arrest and questioning in Granard garda station in relation to the burning of the goat mascot. He stated that he further told Garda Gibbons that the subject had been assaulted while in garda custody and that the gardaı´calling to the Carthy house was not going to help the situation, as his cousin did not trust them. This information had not been in Mr. Walsh’s initial statement to the Tribunal, and was put to Garda Gibbons. He denied that such a conversation took place. Mr. Walsh also stated that he told Garda Gibbons that his cousin’s relationship with his girlfriend had recently ended and that he had manic depression. Garda Gibbons was also recalled to deal with the contents of Mr. Walsh’s evidence on this point and denied that such a conversation took place.
Garda Gibbons took Mr. Walsh to meet Superintendent Shelly. He inquired generally of Mr. Walsh as to what sort of person John Carthy was. Mr. Walsh told the superintendent that the subject had manic depression and that it would aggravate the situation if he could see gardaı´. He stated that he informed Superintendent Shelly that if John Carthy saw the gardaı´ who were involved in his arrest and questioning at Granard station, he might shoot at them.
Superintendent Shelly was aware that Mr. Walsh was agreeable to talk to his cousin. This however, was not in response to a request from the subject to speak to Mr. Walsh.
In the course of his evidence to the Tribunal, Inspector Maguire stated that he met Mr. Walsh when he arrived some time after 9:00 p.m. Mr. Walsh, he stated, gave him some background information to the effect that John Carthy was suffering from depression; that he had been in St. Loman’s hospital on more than one occasion and that he could be aggressive. He was also informed, he stated, that the subject was an exceptionally good shot. Inspector Maguire said that he was told by Mr. Walsh that his cousin was on medication but, according to the witness, he was unable to provide a motivation for his behaviour. Inspector Maguire stated that he did not raise the arrest incident or the gun incident with Mr. Walsh, but did inquire as to what ammunition he might have. Inspector Maguire discussed the fact that John Carthy was not happy in St. Loman’s, but he did not make any inquiries as to his treating psychiatrist. He said that Mr. Walsh was anxious to talk to his cousin.
Thomas Walsh attempts to talk to John Carthy
Mr. Walsh requested to speak with the subject. Garda Gibbons accompanied him to the ESB pole and advised him to try and cheer his cousin up by speaking about positive things they had done together in the past. He was advised by Superintendent Shelly to encourage him to give some sort of sign or signal that he was still alive, such as switching on and off the light in the house. Mr. Walsh then tried to communicate by way of a loudhailer. He told his cousin that he was going to telephone him on his mobile phone. He received no sign or signal from the house at that stage. After several attempts to telephone him, John Carthy eventually answered. According to Mr. Walsh, he sounded angry and in response to an inquiry as to whether he was okay, John Carthy replied ‘‘what the fuck do you care’’. Mr. Walsh reassured him that he did care, but John Carthy responded saying that Mr. Walsh had not come to visit him while he was in St. Loman’s hospital. Again Mr. Walsh reiterated that he did care and that he had brought Mrs. Carthy to St. Loman’s to visit him on several occasions. John Carthy responded by saying ‘‘don’t disgust me Walsh’’ and hung up the telephone. Mr. Walsh also used the loudhailer to tell him that his friend Martin Shelly was on his way to see him, and he believed that he may also have told him that his sister, Marie, was also coming to see him but he was unsure on this point.
Mr. Walsh subsequently meets Superintendent Shelly and Inspector Maguire
After Mr. Walsh returned from his attempts to engage John Carthy, he had a further discussion with Inspector Maguire. The latter stated that sometime between 9:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. he learned from a local uniformed member that John Carthy had been arrested and accused of burning a goat mascot, had been questioned, and subsequently released when it became apparent that he was innocent. He told the Tribunal that he discussed with Mr. Walsh the burning of the goat mascot. Mr. Walsh confirmed that his cousin had been arrested; that he was annoyed with the locals for accusing him of burning the goat, and that he was getting some slagging over it. The impression that Inspector Maguire had from Mr. Walsh was that his cousin was annoyed with the locals over the slagging he was receiving, as opposed to being annoyed with local gardaı´. He brought Mr. Walsh down to meet Superintendent Shelly at the ESB pole. He heard Mr. Walsh suggest that Sean Farrell would be somebody that John Carthy would want to talk to. Inspector Maguire also stated that sometime that night, between 9:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., he asked Mr. Walsh whether John Carthy had a solicitor. Inspector Maguire said that Mr. Walsh replied in the negative and said that he didn’t know the family’s solicitor. Mr. Walsh has no recollection of a conversation in relation to a solicitor with Inspector Maguire or any one else at this time.
Chief Superintendent Tansey meets Thomas Walsh
At approximately 9:30 p.m., Chief Superintendent Tansey was introduced to Mr. Walsh by Superintendent Shelly. They had a brief conversation. At that time Chief Superintendent Tansey was aware that the subject had been arrested in relation to the goat incident, and that he had a grievance about that arrest. He stated that he had no knowledge whatsoever of his allegation of mistreatment. He believed that John Carthy’s grievance was because he had been arrested for the burning of the mascot. He was told about this by Superintendent Shelly. Chief Superintendent Tansey spoke to Mr. Walsh and he stated that he thought that Mr. Walsh was ‘‘downbeat’’ and ‘‘disappointed’’. He tried to encourage him by saying that he had done his best.
Thomas Walsh leaves the scene
Mr. Walsh then left the scene and travelled to his sister, Patricia Mahon’s house, where Mrs. Carthy and his mother, Nancy Walsh were staying. He spoke to Mrs. Carthy briefly who told him of the events of the morning and early afternoon and that John had said to her ‘‘that nobody was going to put him out of the house or take his gun or words to that effect’’.
Superintendent John Farrelly arrives at the scene
At approximately 9.30 p.m. Superintendent Farrelly, the Garda Press Officer, arrived at Abbeylara. He went into a local shop, Farrell’s, and sought directions. Shortly before this, Ms Ann Walsh had returned to the village from Mahon’s. She stated that,
at that time, the area near the church was cordoned and manned by two uniformed gardaı´. She saw media vans around the church. She went to Farrell’s shop. She stated that she was annoyed and disgusted that this was happening, ‘‘that the media were there so quickly for John’’. Ms Walsh stated that she recalled telling Superintendent Farrelly that the media was not going to be any help. She stated that he confirmed that he was there, ‘‘to keep them at bay’’. She stated that she also informed gardaı´ on checkpoint duty that the media presence was not helping the situation.
SECTION D — The Arrival of the Emergency Response Unit
Arrival of the ERU at the scene at 9:50 p.m.
Detective Sergeant Russell and three members of the unit travelled to Abbeylara. Detective Garda Flaherty accompanied Sergeant Russell in a garda jeep, with Detective Garda Carey and Detective Garda Ryan travelling together in another jeep. En route to Abbeylara Sergeant Russell informed his colleagues that the matter was urgent and that when they arrived at the scene they were to get into their safety equipment and gear as quickly as possible. They arrived at the scene at approximately 9:50 p.m.
Superintendent Shelly’s previous experience of working with the ERU
Superintendent Shelly confirmed that he had operated on previous occasions with the ERU in relation to matters such as searches. This was the first occasion that he had an active involvement with members of the ERU in ‘‘a siege type situation’’. He was aware of the capabilities of the ERU. When asked what his understanding of the role of the ERU would be, when they arrived at the scene, he stated:
‘‘it was more or less the same role that we ourselves were performing up to that time, that they would assist in the policy of containing and negotiating with John Carthy and that effectively they would be performing essentially the same role as the local armed gardaı´’’.
Detective Sergeant Russell’s previous experience of working with those at the scene
Sergeant Russell knew Detective Sergeant Jackson for twenty years and had worked with him in Kilmainham garda station. He had also worked with him throughout his service in the ERU, both as a detective garda and a detective sergeant. However, he had never worked with him when he was operating in his capacity as a negotiator on any previous occasion. While he recognised Superintendent Shelly, he never worked with him previously. He had never been involved in an operation where either Superintendent Shelly or Chief Superintendent Tansey was involved. He was not aware of whether he had in fact worked with Superintendent Byrne on any previous occasions. If he did, he said that it certainly was not work of a substantial nature.
Detective Sergeant Russell meets Superintendent Shelly and Chief Superintendent Tansey
Superintendent Shelly’s evidence
Superintendent Shelly stated that he informed Sergeant Russell that he considered the situation to be very dangerous; that John Carthy suffered from manic depression, did not like St. Loman’s hospital in Mullingar and that he did not want to go back there. The witness told Sergeant Russell that he felt that John Carthy had a grievance against some gardaı´, that he felt that he had been wronged and that he had been accused of something that he did not do. Superintendent Shelly mentioned the burning of the goat mascot to Sergeant Russell. The superintendent stated in evidence that he was not then aware of the nature of the grievance other than the fact that John Carthy had considered that he was being blamed for something that he did not do. Nor, he said, at that time had he any details and was unaware of any complaint made by John Carthy regarding his treatment in the garda station in 1998. As far as he could recall, he understood that John Carthy was annoyed with certain gardaı´and was also annoyed with certain people in the locality who had also blamed him. He stated that he was also unaware, and had not been informed, that John Carthy had made a complaint about this to his doctor, Dr. Cullen.
He told Sergeant Russell of the location of the cordons that he had put in place. Sergeant Russell briefed him on the type of equipment that the ERU brought with them, including the nature of the firearms and other devices. Superintendent Shelly had no input into the type of equipment the ERU brought to the scene. That was, he said, a matter for the ERU to decide.
Detective Sergeant Russell’s evidence
In his evidence, Sergeant Russell stated that he met Superintendent Shelly who introduced him to Chief Superintendent Tansey. The information, recounted in Superintendent Shelly’s evidence, was imparted to Sergeant Russell. He was also informed that John Carthy was suffering from a psychiatric illness; that he was a manic-depressive, and that a doctor had attended at the scene. Superintendent Shelly, he stated, informed him that he had placed an inner cordon of armed personnel around the house and an outer cordon of uniformed personnel manning checkpoints. Nearby houses had been evacuated at that stage and the subject was
‘‘now contained within the house’’.
An exit plan is discussed
Both Superintendent Shelly and Sergeant Russell gave evidence of discussing an exit plan, which, they stated, anticipated two possibilities: a controlled exit where John Carthy would come out of the house unarmed, be confronted and subject himself to arrest and search; and an uncontrolled exit where he would come out with his shotgun, in circumstances where he would comply with garda requests to put down his gun, or alternatively where he would not comply with such a request and would pose a threat or danger to the gardaı´ present. This plan, it was contended, also made provision for the cordon moving with John Carthy on his exit from the house in
circumstances where his conduct was uncontrolled, but where he did not pose an immediate threat. This exit plan is considered in detail in Chapter 6.
While consideration was given to the possibility of entering the building, an immediate entry was ruled out. The strategy which had been devised was one of containment and negotiation and therefore Superintendent Shelly did not consider the option of entering the building at that time.
Detective Garda Campbell meets Detective Sergeant Russell
Garda Campbell brought two members of the ERU around to the mound at the back of Carthy’s house, through Burke’s garden. He was then told by Sergeant Russell that the ERU were taking charge of the inner cordon around the house. Garda Campbell returned to a position at the gable of Burke’s house. At that time he understood that the ERU were an inner cordon and that he was now part of an outer cordon. He stated that no one had specifically instructed him ‘‘one way or the other about that’’. He also understood that the ERU personnel had moved in closer to the house than the local officers had been.
Detective Sergeant Russell inspects the area and tightens the inner cordon
Sergeant Russell carried out a visual inspection of the area. He looked at the house and the surrounding environment. He carried out a brief topographical assessment of the area, including the building. Having done so, he informed Superintendent Shelly that it would be helpful to tighten the cordon as he had concerns that John Carthy might attempt to leave the house with a shotgun during the hours of darkness. He stated that should that occur, the ERU would have difficulty in dealing with such a situation. He suggested to Superintendent Shelly that they, the ERU, should get closer to the house.
Detective Sergeant Russell’s evidence on the purpose of the cordon
Sergeant Russell was specifically responsible for tactics at the inner cordon. He stated that the purpose of the inner cordon, now manned by the ERU, was to contain the subject within that cordon and to make sure it was not breached. The outer cordon was to ensure that no one entered the area from outside. It was also ‘‘a back-up to the inner cordon’’, he stated. The outer cordon was to ensure that no unauthorised personnel such as civilians, family members, or others, would gain access to the area,
‘‘everything must be controlled through the scene commander and no one would enter it without knowledge of the control, which would be the scene commander’’.
It was taken for granted, he said, that uniformed personnel might be located between the inner and outer cordons ‘‘it is just a fact of life in dealing with situations that there will be, as we are primarily a uniformed force . . . and there would always be a
uniformed presence on any operation, particularly of a public nature like that’’. He observed that the outer cordon had two elements, one located close to the house and close to the ERU, and, the other, part of the outer cordon located further away, providing checkpoints dealing with road traffic and regulating personnel entering the area of the scene. He was now ‘‘happy’’ that the local armed men were forming the outer cordon. It should be noted, however, that the geographical location of a number of local armed officers effectively remained the same as that which it had been prior to the arrival of the ERU when local armed officers comprised the inner cordon around the stronghold.
Relocation of the inner cordon and redeployment of local armed officers
The two local armed gardaı´ who had been deployed by Superintendent Shelly at the back of the mound of clay behind the old house were moved further back. Garda Ryan of the ERU took that position, from which he covered the only external door. The local armed gardaı´ who had been positioned at Burke’s house stayed there and those at the ESB pole remained where they were. Two local armed gardaı´ present at the boundary pillar between Farrell’s and Carthy’s were moved back towards Farrell’s house. Garda Carey of the ERU assumed a position at that pillar. The two local armed gardaı´ who had been deployed within the bounds of Farrell’s house remained in position. A third ERU member, Garda Flaherty, was positioned at the front left corner of the new house. Sergeant Russell stated that he personally retained a certain flexibility.
Local armed officers are informed of their ‘‘back-up role’’
Superintendent Shelly stated that he instructed the senior local officer, Detective Sergeant Aidan Foley, to inform local officers of their change of role and that they were now back-up to the ERU. Sergeant Foley said that he was told by Superintendent Shelly that the local armed officers ‘‘were then back-up to the ERU in the event that John Carthy exiting the house, the ERU members would deal with him. We were to move and allow the ERU room to deal with John Carthy.’’ Sergeant Foley stated in evidence that he notified his men that they were now in a back-up role to the ERU who had taken over the inner cordon. He conveyed this instruction to Gardaı´ Boland, Nolan, Kilroy, Barrins, Dunne, Faughnan, Mulligan and Quinn.
Communication with the ERU and other gardaı´
Sergeant Russell stated that he maintained radio contact with the other members of his unit approximately every fifteen minutes to ensure that they were alert and updated. With regard to communication with non-ERU personnel, he informed the Tribunal that arrangements were made with the scene commander to use the communications equipment in the ERU jeep. Sergeant Russell did not have any direct radio communications with persons who were not at the jeep. Contact was through the scene commander, or whoever was manning the command vehicle at any given time. He did not see himself as having a direct role in communicating with non-ERU
members which was, he stated, effectively a matter for the scene commander. They were under the control of the scene commander while he had responsibility for the inner cordon and his own personnel only.
Arrival of Detective Sergeant Jackson at the scene and the information imparted to him
At approximately 10:00 p.m., Sergeant Jackson and Detective Garda Sullivan arrived at the scene. Sergeant Jackson spoke to Superintendent Shelly and was informed about John Carthy’s arrest over the goat mascot and that he harboured ill feelings towards the Garda. He gave evidence that Superintendent Shelly did not expand in great detail, but told him that the subject would have difficulty with gardaı´ because of this particular incident; that he felt that he had been wronged by the local gardaı´ and that he believed that he had been arrested in the wrong. There was, he said no discussion in relation to the fact that John Carthy had made complaints, or that he had alleged that he had been ill-treated while in Garda custody. Sergeant Jackson stated that on a scale of 1 to 10, he had assessed John Carthy’s mistrust of the gardaı´ at 10. This assessment, he said, ‘‘wasn’t going to be reinforced any stronger. . .ifI had been made aware of the allegation of assault’’. He contended that he measured the feeling of John Carthy being wronged ‘‘in the optimum’’.
Superintendent Shelly informed him that the subject had lost his job in Galway a couple of months earlier; that he had difficulty with his employment; that he was annoyed about this and that he had also broken up with his girlfriend in Galway. He was also informed by Superintendent Shelly that the landline telephone connection to the house had been reconnected. Superintendent Shelly gave him John Carthy’s mobile phone number. Sergeant Jackson was also informed of Mr. Walsh’s presence and his attempts to make contact with his cousin. He discussed the subject’s medical background with Superintendent Shelly and learned that Dr. Cullen had been at the scene, but had since left. Sergeant Jackson stated that he was of the view that it was important to find out what phase of the bipolar disorder John Carthy was in, that is to say, whether he was elated or depressed. Sergeant Jackson believed he was also informed by Superintendent Shelly that Sergeant Dooley had inquired of the Carthy family as to the involvement of a specialist, but that there was none such that they (the family) were aware of. (This could not be true. The family were well aware of Dr. Shanley’s involvement which had been over a period of years and that, ironically, the subject had an appointment to see the specialist at St. Patrick’s hospital in Dublin on the following day). He learnt that Marie Carthy was on the way from Galway to the scene. He stated that he was apprised of the contingency plans in relation to a controlled or uncontrolled exit from the house. He also stated that he discussed with Superintendent Shelly the strategy in relation to negotiations.
Sergeant Jackson informed the superintendent that he:
i. was going to attempt to make contact with John Carthy and ascertain what had caused the crisis;
ii. was going to try to get him to discuss the issue of the shotgun;
iii. was going to try to link in with his motivation for the siege;
iv. needed to make contact and to talk to him directly to see what his difficulties were;
v. would assess what condition he was in; and,
vi. would generally see if he could make some inroads in relation to communicating with the subject.
Isolation of telephone lines
Sergeant Jackson did not give consideration to the isolation or restriction of the landline, or to the isolation or monitoring of John Carthy’s mobile phone.
Tactical role of negotiators
Sergeant Russell stated in evidence that it was not anticipated by him that the negotiator and his assistant would form part of the inner cordon and he did not factor them into the tactical response.
Role of local unarmed officers
After the arrival of the ERU, Inspector Maguire saw his ongoing function as one of overseeing the uniformed members and of monitoring events on the periphery of the scene. This role included supervising the outer checkpoints and outer cordon and evaluating any information that might come into possession of uniformed gardaı´. However, he confirmed that up to the time he went off duty at midnight, no officer had been specifically allocated the duty for collating and gathering intelligence. He also confirmed that before going off duty he had briefed Superintendent Byrne on his conversations with Thomas Walsh. Inspector Maguire confirmed that there was to be no change in relation to the role of local uniformed members. The local unarmed members were told by Sergeant Murray that the ERU were forming the inner cordon. Inspector Maguire spoke directly to Garda Carthy, Garda Dunleavy and Garda Judge, who were in the vicinity of Burke’s and told them and Sergeant Murray that the ERU were now in command, and that in the event of the subject exiting or coming close to them they were to protect themselves, take cover and leave it to the armed members.
Sergeant Mangan prepared a roster for the uniformed gardaı´.
Command post location is chosen
An ERU jeep was chosen as the command post for the incident by Superintendent Shelly. It was located on the roadway between Burke’s gateway and the ESB pole on the boundary of Carthy’s property. He felt that this was the best place for the command post as it gave the scene commander a view of the scene. While chosen by Superintendent Shelly, it was maintained as the command post by Superintendent
Byrne. No other senior officer, or Sergeant Russell, expressed dissatisfaction with its location, which is considered in more detail in Chapter 6.
Negotiation post location is chosen
Initially, Sergeant Jackson chose as the negotiation position, a point between Carthy’s and Burke’s at the pole on the roadway. This gave him what he considered to be a good view of the house, being at a somewhat higher position than the building. This is also discussed in more detail in Chapter 6.
Meeting of senior officers at 10:15 p.m.
Sometime between 10:00 p.m. and 10:15 p.m., a meeting took place between the senior officers at the scene, Chief Superintendent Tansey, Superintendent Shelly and Superintendent Byrne, who had just come on duty. Superintendent Shelly updated the other two officers on progress. The meeting, he stated, was mainly for the benefit of Superintendent Byrne. He informed him of the identity of the ERU sergeants; their roles, and the roles of the other members of the ERU. There was, he stated, also a discussion about the command structure at the scene. Superintendent Shelly retained the position as overall operational commander. Sergeant Russell had now assumed tactical control of the inner cordon:
‘‘which effectively meant that he was in charge of that unit and Detective Sergeant Jackson would have sole responsibility for the negotiation with John Carthy and he would be assisted by a detective garda’’.
It was agreed that Superintendent Shelly would continue as scene commander until midnight when that position would be assumed by Superintendent Byrne who would continue until 9:00 a.m. at which time Superintendent Shelly would resume that role. Superintendent Shelly commenced a log of the events at around this time.
While both superintendents were qualified tactical supervisors, no tactical supervisor was specifically appointed. Initially, Superintendent Shelly said that he thought that he had ‘‘enough knowledge and expertise myself to deal with it’’. Later in evidence he said that a combination of his training as a tactical supervisor and Sergeant Russell’s role at the scene meant that they were more than capable of dealing with the issue. However, Superintendent Byrne stated that he was satisfied that Sergeant Russell, who was in tactical charge of the inner cordon, could fulfil this role. Superintendent Byrne was also of the view that Abbeylara was an emergency situation, not a planned operation within the meaning of the Garda Code, which refers to the appointment of tactical supervisors at Chapter 25.45. He considered that Sergeant Russell was acting as tactical supervisor having been deployed as part of the ERU. He did not consider it necessary to seek the assistance of any local officer in that capacity from the division or district.
Lighting is switched off
Sergeant Russell observed the commencement of the negotiations from his initial position which was close to Farrell’s house and outside the perimeter wall. He could see John Carthy moving around the room, holding the shotgun. The light was on in the kitchen. The light, previously positioned by the gardaı´ to the rear of the premises, lit up the hedge near Burke’s, and shone down on garda positions. It was inhibiting Sergeant Russell’s view. He was concerned that this light had a blinding effect and was serving to highlight the garda position. He did not wish that these would be ‘‘a visible target’’. He requested that the light be switched off, which was done.
Detective Sergeant Jackson attempts contact with John Carthy
At approximately 10:20 p.m., Sergeant Jackson rang John Carthy’s mobile telephone number, but did not receive any reply. He then endeavoured to telephone him on his landline, and again received no reply. He used the loudhailer and called out to the subject as follows ‘‘I am Mick, I work for the gardaı´ and I am here to help’’. At 10:25 p.m. a shot was discharged from the house.
A shot is fired at 10:25 p.m.
At this time, according to Sergeant Russell’s evidence, John Carthy was pacing around the room holding the shotgun, peeking out the window occasionally in their direction. At approximately 10:25 p.m., he fired a shot which was stated to be in the direction of Sergeant Russell and Garda Carey. That shot, said Sergeant Russell, came quite close to them. They were crouched down behind the wall and could hear the pellets striking the other side.
Relocation of negotiation position
Sergeant Jackson became concerned that the negotiating position he had adopted required reassessment. He felt that John Carthy may not have been able to hear him. A decision was made to move the negotiation point to the pillar at the boundary wall almost directly in front of the gable window in the kitchen. Sergeant Jackson discussed the repositioning with Superintendent Shelly and Sergeant Russell. This is discussed in detail in Chapter 6.
Detective Sergeant Russell’s role in the negotiation process
Sergeant Russell stated in evidence that his function was to provide safety for those who might be introduced to the scene as negotiators or intermediaries when coming to, or leaving the area. It was not part of his function, or duty, to decide on who should attempt to talk or negotiate, or when that should take place. Further, it was not part of his function, he stated, to locate those who might be so introduced. These were functions of the scene commanders and the negotiator. When questioned on whether his views were canvassed about the negotiations, he stated that the only advice that he gave Sergeant Jackson was when he learned that John Carthy may have had some difficulty with St. Loman’s hospital. He stated that he did not mean
this to be a criticism of St. Loman’s, but he informed Sergeant Jackson that John Carthy may have a difficulty because it was common in rural Ireland that there was a certain stigma attached to psychiatric illness and in particular to the local hospital, not just St. Loman’s, but any local mental hospital. That, he said, had been his experience as a policeman. (It is interesting to note that Sergeant Russell trained as a psychiatric nurse in St. Loman’s hospital in 1980 but had not practised as a qualified psychiatric nurse.) He stated that he did not come across the same problem in Dublin when he had worked in the Kilmainham area. Sergeant Russell stated that he was not privy to all of the dialogue between Sergeant Jackson and Garda Sullivan, or between Sergeant Jackson and John Carthy. He did, however, overhear some conversation and observed a number of matters that took place.
Garda Cunniffe is detailed to liaise with the family
At about 10:30 p.m. Sergeant Mangan directed Garda Sine´ad Cunniffe to go to the Mahon house, as it was considered that it would be of benefit to have a Garda presence in the house if this was acceptable to the family. Sergeant Mangan then telephoned the Mahon house and, she stated, the family agreed to her suggestion. Sergeant Mangan saw Garda Cunniffe’s role as being a support to the family and also a link between the gardaı´ and the family. Sergeant Mangan informed Superintendent Shelly and Superintendent Byrne of Garda Cunniffe’s presence in the Mahon house. The two superintendents approved of her decision. At 2:30 a.m. Sergeant Mangan left the scene and went back to the Mahon house. She remained there until 3:30 a.m. and then she and Garda Cunniffe left.
Garda Cunniffe was a probationer garda at this time, stationed at Granard garda station. She was directed by Sergeant Mangan to provide them with support and to relay to the family information that might become available, or to pass on any information that she learned from the family to the gardaı´.
She had no prior knowledge of John Carthy, or his background. She was briefed by Sergeant Mangan in relation to the events. She learned from Sergeant Mangan that he had some mental illness. Sergeant Desmond Nally brought her there at approximately 10:30 p.m. when she was introduced to Mrs. Carthy.
Mr. Christy Mahon, Mrs. Patricia Mahon, Ms Ann Walsh, Ms Alice Farrell, Mrs. Nancy Walsh and Mr. Thomas Walsh were present in the house. Garda Cunniffe did not receive any information from the scene or from Granard garda station to be conveyed to the Carthy family during her time at the Mahon house. She kept in touch with Sergeant Mangan and Sergeant Nally and informed the family that there was ‘‘no new information forthcoming’’. She remained with them until 3:30 a.m. approximately. During that time she spoke to Mrs. Carthy and asked her about her son. She formed the impression that Mrs. Carthy was a quiet lady who did not ‘‘appear to be very talkative.’’ She stated that she did not obtain any information from Mrs. Carthy or from the other members of the family. The impression that she formed was that they were puzzled by what had happened. Garda Cunniffe stated that she received no specific information about the nature of John Carthy’s illness. At 8:30
a.m. on 20th April she returned to the Mahon house. Garda Cunniffe was unaware of the subject having made specific requests — in particular one for a solicitor and cigarettes during the night. She was not in a position to give the family any further information as to what was happening. At 10:30 a.m. Marie Carthy, escorted by Garda Reynolds and Garda Carthy, arrived and Garda Cunniffe met her. They had, she said, no real conversation of substance. Garda Cunniffe subsequently left the Mahon house at approximately 11:00 a.m. and went off duty.
Superintendent Byrne was aware that Garda Cunniffe had been appointed to liaise with the family. He did not review this during the night. However, at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday 20th April, he sent Garda Frank Reynolds to Mahon’s to see how Mrs. Carthy was and to ascertain whether there was anything new at that stage.
Dr. Cullen makes telephone contact at 11.00 p.m.
Dr. Cullen stated that at approximately 11:00 p.m. he contacted the garda station in Granard to ‘‘see what was happening’’. He was, he said, informed that there had been no further developments. He also stated that he felt sure that he had asked whether he could be of assistance, but that this was not requested at that time.
Further attempts to communicate from the new negotiation position at 11:00 p.m.
Having moved to that position, Sergeant Jackson recommenced attempts at negotiation and at 11:00 p.m. he spoke to the subject on the loudhailer, and called out his mobile telephone number. He stated that he said to him again, ‘‘I am Mick, I am with the guards, I am here to help’’.
At approximately 11:20 p.m., John Carthy spoke to Sergeant Jackson in reply and said ‘‘who are you, are you a guard?’’ He spoke quickly and appeared agitated. Sergeant Jackson said ‘‘I am, and I am here to help you’’. John Carthy replied, ‘‘go away’’ and ‘‘fuck off’’. Sergeant Jackson said ‘‘John, you sound very angry, you sound very upset, what is the problem, what has caused all of this, I am here, I want to hear about it’’. Sergeant Jackson went on to say, ‘‘I want to talk to you, it would be great if we could talk on the phone and maybe if you would just put the gun aside and we could talk’’. He did not get a positive reaction to this. John Carthy ‘‘mumbled’’ something and turned up the volume of the television. He lowered and levelled the gun at Sergeant Jackson who was forced to duck behind the wall.
Marie Carthy arrives at the scene
Ms Carthy and Mr. Martin Shelly arrived in Abbeylara village by garda car from Galway at approximately 11:00 p.m. They noticed a ‘‘strong media presence’’. They were driven through the checkpoint at the church to Walsh’s house. On the road outside the house they met some members of the Garda and the ERU. Superintendent Shelly was also present. He informed Sergeant Jackson of their arrival, via Sergeant Russell. When Ms Carthy arrived at the scene, Superintendent Shelly
was aware that Garda Sullivan was anxious to speak to her. For safety reasons he wished to do this at the Ballywillin side. It was understood that Garda Sullivan, rather than Sergeant Jackson, would speak to her at that time. A uniformed garda at the scene drove Ms Carthy, Mr. Shelly and Mr. Walsh to the Ballywillin side in the garda jeep. They were driven via Granard as it was considered too dangerous to go directly past the house. Superintendent Byrne and Superintendent Shelly followed them in another vehicle. Superintendent Shelly stated that he had only very briefly met Ms Carthy. He had no discussion with her at that time.
On arrival at the Ballywillin side, a few hundred metres from the Carthy residence, they met with Superintendent Shelly and Garda Sullivan. Garda Sullivan sat into the garda jeep with Marie Carthy and Martin Shelly. He asked her general questions about her brother. She informed him of his depression. In relation to a query as to what might be annoying him, she said that she referred to the imminent move into the new house. She believed that he was concerned about ensuring that his mother would be well settled in the new house. Marie Carthy stated in evidence that she told Garda Sullivan that in the context of a person with depression that the best thing to do was ‘‘just to leave him alone and the main thing you don’t do with someone that has depression is confront them’’. She also stated that she informed them that he did not like the gardaı´ and that:
‘‘the best thing to do would not be to confront him and give him his own space for a little while and he would have come out. I told him that with all the gardaı´ around the house and the media presence, it wasn’t very good for someone suffering from depression and especially for John who didn’t trust the gardaı´’’.
In evidence to the Tribunal, Sergeant Jackson and Garda Sullivan stated that at approximately 11:20 p.m. they became aware that Ms Carthy and Mr. Martin Shelly had arrived. Sergeant Jackson sent Garda Sullivan to speak to them for the purposes of getting as much information as he could from them. What was uppermost in Sergeant Jackson’s mind at this stage, he stated, was to find out why John Carthy had embarked on the behaviour which he had demonstrated or was demonstrating. Garda Sullivan said Ms Carthy and Mr. Shelly informed him that there might be a number of reasons:
i. that he used to have a job labouring on the buildings in Galway working with ‘‘Pepper’’, but that he had lost it around the end of January; that he was upset about this and felt that he had been sacked in the wrong;
ii. that he had broken up with his girlfriend about four weeks before this; that he had been going out with her for about six weeks and that he was ‘‘mad about’’ her. They said that this was a ‘‘touchy subject’’ with John Carthy and to mention it might upset him;
that his father’s anniversary was a Holy Thursday, his father being ten years dead, and that he was very close to him. Garda Sullivan said that he was told that this had been the start of John Carthy’s depression and that he had been in and out of St. Loman’s hospital since his father’s death;
iv. that he had been barred from his local pub, McCormack’s, the previous weekend and that had upset him also.
Garda Sullivan said that this was the ‘‘sum total of the in formation he was given’’.
In relation to Garda Sullivan’s recollection that he was informed that John Carthy’s depression began in and around the time of the death of their father, Ms Carthy felt that Garda Sullivan may have misinterpreted what she said as her brother’s depression did not begin until two years after the death. She believed that the death of her father meant that her brother took on board duties in relation to his mother and herself which became too much for him and which manifested itself in depression.
Martin Shelly confirmed that the information recorded by Garda Sullivan was the information that was given by Marie Carthy, himself and Thomas Walsh. He specifically informed Garda Sullivan about the recent employment difficulties that John Carthy had encountered and the recent break-up of a relationship. He also believed that either Marie Carthy or Thomas Walsh informed Garda Sullivan that ‘‘John didn’t like the gardaı´ and that it would be best if they kept back and gave him a bit of room, a bit of breathing space.’’ He also stated that Thomas Walsh told Garda Sullivan that John Carthy’s dislike of the gardaı´ arose out of the incident of the burning of the goat mascot and his subsequent arrest and questioning in Granard station where he was abused by the gardaı´. It should be noted that Mr. Shelly did not include this information in his original statement made to the Culligan Inquiry, which had been adopted as his original statement to the Tribunal. It was included in a statement made subsequent to his first appearance at the Tribunal.
Garda Sullivan thought that Marie Carthy was distressed and that it was difficult to get a coherent reply from her; he described Mr. Shelly as being quieter. Garda Sullivan stated that he asked them if they would be willing to speak to John Carthy and they said they would. Garda Sullivan then returned to the scene and, he stated, conveyed this information to Sergeant Jackson.
John Carthy makes a request for a solicitor at 11:38 p.m.
Sergeant Jackson informed the Tribunal that at approximately 11:38 p.m. he telephoned the subject and said ‘‘John, this is Mick’’. John Carthy, he stated, immediately said ‘‘where is my solicitor?’’, followed by ‘‘get the fuck out of here’’. Sergeant Jackson spoke to him saying ‘‘who is your solicitor, John; where can we contact him and we will get him for you’’. John Carthy replied, ‘‘I want the best, the best, the best’’. Sergeant Jackson again asked who his solicitor was and told the subject that he would get him. He asked him where the solicitor could be contacted. John Carthy, he stated, did not reply.
Sergeant Jackson then asked the subject to come out and leave the gun behind; that he would arrange to have a solicitor meet him outside in the garden. John Carthy’s reply to this was that ‘‘I want him to come in here, in here’’. Sergeant Jackson stated that he observed John Carthy banging the gun off the table. He then told the subject
that he was worried about the gun and that it would be a problem for a solicitor to go into the house. He stated that he asked him to come out without the gun and the solicitor would meet him outside. John Carthy’s reply to this was ‘‘No way, don’t bother’’.
Sergeant Jackson told the Tribunal that he reassured Mr. Carthy that he was not there to hurt him and that if he came out no one would hurt him. The negotiator said he believed that the subject may not trust the gardaı´ and he stated to him that he would get a solicitor, friend, priest or anyone he wanted, to meet him outside. John Carthy’s reply to this was ‘‘I am not coming out, no way’’. Sergeant Jackson then instructed Garda Sullivan to contact Superintendent Shelly to see whether the scene commander had any knowledge in relation to John Carthy’s solicitor.
At approximately 11:40 p.m., Garda Sullivan informed Superintendent Shelly that John Carthy had looked for a solicitor. No particular solicitor was mentioned. Superintendent Shelly stated that he requested Garda Sullivan to explore with the subject the identity of the solicitor. Superintendent Shelly agreed that this was the first occasion that he had become aware that there was a verbal response from John Carthy since he first attended at the scene at 7:00 p.m. He may have spoken in the interim to others, but that was the first ‘‘request’’ that he was aware of.
Inquiries of the family regarding solicitors
Superintendent Byrne was questioned on whether, when he came on duty at 12:00 a.m. as scene commander, any direct inquiries were made of the immediate family regarding the identity of John Carthy’s solicitor. He was aware of the conversation between Inspector Maguire and Thomas Walsh when he had been asked who the family solicitor was, and that he, Thomas Walsh, had stated that he did not think that there was one. He confirmed that no such inquiries were made because he was satisfied that Thomas Walsh, who had been described as John Carthy’s best friend and as someone who ‘‘knew everything about him’’, would have known if John Carthy had a solicitor, and would have told the gardaı´ willingly. John Carthy had not requested a solicitor prior to the first two occasions on which Superintendent Byrne had met Ms Carthy. He was aware of the request, however, when he met her at 2:15 a.m. (which incident is recounted below). He did not ask her about the solicitor at that time. On further questioning, he accepted that the people most likely to know who a particular person’s solicitor is, are the immediate family, something which did not strike him at the time. He stated that while he had considered obtaining a solicitor from the locality, he ruled this out on account of the way that John Carthy had treated his friends and family who had attempted to speak with him. He felt that ‘‘an anonymous solicitor would be a total waste of time.’’ He did not consider whether it might have been beneficial to the process to indicate to the subject that there was a solicitor present, even though that solicitor may not have been the one that John Carthy wanted. He acknowledged that it had not occurred to him that John Carthy, or his mother, or both of them, were then possibly in negotiation with a solicitor in connection with the new house provided by the local authority. Superintendent Byrne stated that he was surprised to learn that the subject had done business with
Mr. Gearty and Mr. Connellan. Superintendent Byrne and the gardaı´ were familiar with those gentlemen on a daily basis, because they were ‘‘the most prominent solicitors in Longford’’.
Ms Carthy said that when she and Martin Shelly were being interviewed, Thomas Walsh, who was outside the jeep in which she was seated, opened the door and inquired as to who was their family solicitor, to which she replied ‘‘Gearty’s’’. She said that Garda Sullivan was sitting in the jeep when this request was made. Thomas Walsh thought that this occurred when they had returned to the Abbeylara side of the Carthy home, but accepted that he was open to correction on this. He stated that he was approached by a member of the Garda Sı´ocha´na, whom he thought may have been Superintendent Shelly, inquiring who John Carthy’s solicitor was. Thomas Walsh said that he would ask Marie Carthy. He stated that he approached the jeep and confirmed with her that Gearty’s were the family solicitors.
In evidence to the Tribunal, Superintendent Shelly said that he did not discuss the request for a solicitor with any civilian person at that time. The statement of Mr. Thomas Walsh in this regard was put to Superintendent Shelly to which he responded:
‘‘The issue and the identity of a solicitor did not arise at that time, I did not say that to Thomas Walsh. I was aware that earlier that night Inspector Maguire had spoken to Mr. Walsh when he came to the scene and he was talking to Mr. Walsh and he was trying to get as much information as he could about John Carthy and his background and his connection with him andI know that Inspector Maguire asked Mr. Walsh had John Carthy a solicitor and he said he didn’t know or know anything about a solicitor’’.
He stated that he had no conversation with Mr. Walsh regarding a solicitor. Garda Sullivan was unsure whether it was in this conversation with Superintendent Shelly, or in a later one, before Superintendent Shelly went off duty, that he was told by him that John Carthy had no known solicitor.
Ms Ann Walsh, whom Thomas Walsh met later, stated that her brother required confirmation that Gearty’s were the family solicitor because he told her that he had ‘‘asked Marie but he just wanted to confirm it with somebody else as well’’. Ms Walsh did not at that time remember that Mr. Connellan had acted for John Carthy.
Garda Sullivan returned to the scene and Sergeant Jackson continued the attempt to establish the identity of John Carthy’s solicitor with him. There was no reply to these requests.
Superintendent Byrne stated that no decision was made by the gardaı´ at the scene not to involve a solicitor. He stated that there were ‘‘no rules established’’ that the family were not to be told anything and there was ‘‘no prohibition on anybody telling the family’’. He did not agree with counsel for the family that it had been an error not to contact the family in this regard.
Q. The question I was asking was, how is it the family weren’t told that he was asking for a solicitor?
A. Because I suppose we believed he didn’t have a named solicitor, wrongly, as it turns out .... I would have been so glad of anybody that could connect with John. We offered a solicitor, we offered a parish priest, we offered any friend and the people that he accepted were brought to him.’’
It was contended that there was no particular reason why the family were not told that John Carthy was looking for a solicitor. The gardaı´ who acted as liaison officers were not aware of this request. Superintendent Byrne agreed that no solicitor was brought to the scene. However, he did not believe that it would be beneficial — ‘‘though it would be better for me here today’’, he told the Tribunal. He did not agree with the ‘‘Culligan point’’ that it would have been beneficial to bring a solicitor to the scene and that from the way that John Carthy treated people considered to be his friends and family, he (Superintendent Byrne) did not believe that he would have related to an anonymous person. He agreed, however, that if a solicitor had been brought down to the scene, John Carthy would either accept or reject such solicitor. Superintendent Byrne said that he had considered bringing a solicitor down but rejected it. He did not specifically recall discussing this with others.
Marie Carthy goes to Devine’s house
Ms Marie Carthy and Martin Shelly were brought back to Abbeylara, via Granard. They went to Devine’s house which is situated directly opposite the church. The Devines are close family friends of the Carthys. Marie Carthy stated that she informed the gardaı´ that they would be staying in Devine’s house that night, if they were required. Thomas Walsh was also with them in Devine’s at this stage. Mrs. Devine, she stated, made them one hot whiskey each and some tea. A garda was not detailed to accompany Mr. Shelly and Ms Carthy after they had left the scene. Their whereabouts was not logged.
Further attempts to negotiate between 11:30 p.m. and midnight
Sergeant Jackson then spoke to John Carthy again by megaphone and asked him why he was doing this. He reassured him that no one outside the house wanted to harm him; that his mother, sister, friends and neighbours were worried about him; all they wanted was for him to leave the gun behind and come out. Sergeant Jackson thought the subject appeared to laugh and smirk. He told the Tribunal that he then said to him that ‘‘no one has been injured in this, nothing has happened that can’t be sorted out, so don’t worry about coming out’’. He received no reply to this.
In evidence, Sergeant Jackson stated that he tried to factor in John Carthy’s main worries, such as the fact that he lost his job, that he was worried about being committed to St. Loman’s hospital and that he was worried about the consequences of his present action. He also said that he was aware from the subject’s perspective that he had extra worries about coming out because of his perceived unjust treatment by local gardaı´ on a previous occasion. He told the subject that he knew
that he was a good plasterer and that everyone said that he was a hard worker. This meant that people were willing to employ him in the future. He reassured him that when he came out he would be treated fairly by everyone and that things were not as bad as they appeared and that what was important was that no one had been hurt, including himself. He told him that his family and friends cared for him and that he, Sergeant Jackson, also cared. He told him that everyone outside would help him when he came out. He assured him that the best way out of the situation was to leave the gun in the house and come out. There was no specific reply to this from the subject but Sergeant Jackson thought he saw him mumbling to himself.
Detective Sergeant Russell’s observations
Sergeant Russell observed some of the attempted negotiations at this time. He told the Tribunal that when Sergeant Jackson commenced negotiations from the new location he heard some initial responses in the form of mumbling and later responses such as ‘‘who are you? Fuck off and get out of here’’. He overheard Sergeant Jackson informing John Carthy of who he was; the reason why he was there; that he wanted to bring the matter to a peaceful conclusion; that no one had been injured; that he, Sergeant Jackson, wished to reassure the subject that whatever had happened, the situation was not as bad as it might appear to him, and that it was important that no one had been hurt, including himself. According to Sergeant Russell, the negotiator reassured John Carthy that he would be treated fairly if he came out and left his weapon behind. As one of the panes of glass at the gable-end window was broken, Sergeant Russell felt that John Carthy could have communicated with them if he wished to do so. When asked whether he had given consideration to placing a telephone or two-way radiophone into the house, he stated that that would be a consideration if there was no means of communication in the house. It would take time for that to develop, he stated. It was a tactic that they might employ in such a situation. They did not have that apparatus with them. In any event, he stated, that before considering placing such equipment in the house, they would have to concern themselves with its safe introduction.
Further shot is discharged — 11:45 p.m.
At approximately 11:45 p.m., a shot was discharged directly at the negotiation pillar. Sergeant Russell was positioned behind that pillar with Sergeant Jackson and he regarded this as being an aimed shot. Sergeant Jackson stated that he then asked John Carthy to put the gun down and stop shooting. He replied, ‘‘no way, no way, no way, come in and get me’’. Sergeant Jackson said in saying this he was not asking the subject to surrender the gun. He stated that he then said to John Carthy, that they didn’t want to hurt anyone, especially him, and that they did not want him to hurt anyone, and asked him to stop shooting and put the gun down. There was no reply to this. At this point Sergeant Jackson thought that implicit in the subject’s remarks was the suggestion that gardaı´ should come in and shoot him. This caused the witness to consider the question of whether suicide, in its broadest sense, was an issue. Arising from this he asked the subject whether he was thinking of hurting himself. He received no reply.
John Carthy agrees to speak to Mr. Shelly (‘‘Pepper’’)
After the discharge of the shot at 11:45 p.m., Sergeant Jackson stated that he said to John Carthy ‘‘please put the gun down and let us talk’’. John Carthy was observed holding the gun and sometimes banging the table with the butt. Sergeant Jackson thought that he appeared angry and upset and then saw him drink from a cup and eat some bread. He sent Garda Sullivan to inform Superintendent Shelly that he was requesting authorisation to use Mr. Shelly (‘‘Pepper’’) as a third party intermediary. Superintendent Shelly agreed that this would be a good idea. Garda Sullivan relayed this back to Sergeant Jackson. The latter then told John Carthy that ‘‘Pepper’’ was there and he was willing to speak to him if he wanted to. He replied ‘‘get Pepper’’. Garda Sullivan was made aware that Mr. Shelly and Ms Carthy had left the scene, and he requested Superintendent Shelly to locate him and bring him back. In evidence Superintendent Shelly stated that before he went off duty at 12:00 a.m., he became aware that ‘‘Martin Shelly, the man known as ‘‘Pepper’’, was anxious to talk to John Carthy. I know that was mentioned and that was about it at that time.’’ Superintendent Shelly finished duty at 12:00 a.m. He had no further discussions with Marie Carthy or Martin Shelly of a substantive nature that night. Superintendent Shelly was asked whether Marie Carthy had expressed a wish at that stage to contact her brother. He replied ‘‘no, Mr. Chairman, at that stage as far as I can recall, it was Mr. Shelly that was anxious and willing to talk to him. Ms Carthy — I don’t think that was suggested at that stage.’’
Mr. Shelly was in Devine’s house and had been there since shortly after he and Ms Marie Carthy had arrived in Abbeylara from Galway. He was not located, or contacted, until shortly before 2:00 a.m.
SECTION E: The Night of 19th/20th April
Superintendent Byrne as scene commander
Superintendent Byrne assumed duties as scene commander at midnight on 1 9th April. Superintendent Shelly took over from him at 9:00 a.m. on the following morning.
Tactics at the scene — Superintendent Byrne’s knowledge
At approximately 10:1 5 p.m., after arriving at the scene, he met Chief Superintendent Tansey, Superintendent Shelly and Inspector Maguire. He was briefed in relation to the ongoing events. All were aware of the fact that the subject had depression. Superintendent Byrne believed that he heard the words manic-depressive being used and also that John Carthy had been treated for manic depression in the past; although when he arrived he was not specifically aware that the subject was still under treatment. Also he became aware from that discussion that Dr. Cullen was the subject’s general practitioner and that he had been present at the scene at an earlier time. He was aware, he stated, of the policy/procedures that had been put in place in terms of isolation, containment and negotiation. He was familiar with cordons, their nature and their purpose, and was aware that the ERU were now effectively
manning the inner cordon, whereas the armed gardaı´ who had originally done so were being used as a ‘‘back-up’’ to the inner cordon, or as a support for the ERU. He was also aware that there were uniformed gardaı´ near the scene and stated that this was because it was considered best practice that a person such as John Carthy would see that ‘‘we were gardaı´ rather than to face only plain clothes people and to either be confused and to think that maybe they are not the police’’. Uniformed gardaı´ were there for reassurance to the subject should he come out of the house unarmed. And they would only become visible to him once he exited the house.
His knowledge of the role of local officers
Superintendent Byrne did not personally inspect the position of the inner cordon but he was told where the people were. He was made aware of the instructions given to the local armed gardaı´ in the event of the subject emerging from the house. Superintendent Shelly told him that the local armed people knew what they had to do and that he had informed them, the local gardaı´, to ‘‘leave it to the ERU, they are there in support of them, as short as that.’’ His understanding was that basically they were to leave the ERU to deal with the matter and just fall back in support of the ERU if necessary. He was also familiar with the concept of moving containment, saying that ‘‘if the scene moved’’ the ERU ‘‘would deal with whatever situation developed’’. There was no discussion as to whether local gardaı´ should move back from the jeep should circumstances dictate. Superintendent Byrne stated that he did not specifically discuss the matter with Detective Sergeant Foley as to what his instructions were, or provide any directions for them at that time. He accepted that he was effectively relying on what Superintendent Shelly had told him.
Superintendent Byrne’s information and inquiries concerning Dr. Cullen
It was not until later in the evening, Superintendent Byrne stated, that he was informed that Garda Gibbons had spoken to Dr. Cullen. He told the Tribunal that the information he received was that Dr. Cullen was John Carthy’s general practitioner and that he had known him for a long number of years. He learned also that either Detective Garda Campbell or Garda Gibbons had made the offer to John Carthy to speak with Dr. Cullen and that in response he fired a shot and damaged the patrol car. Questioned on whether he had been informed that Dr. Cullen had stated to Garda Gibbons that John Carthy might not be pleased to see the gardaı´, he stated:
‘‘I certainly heard that at some stage now, butI took that in the balance of the whole situation where John wasn’t pleased to see anybody at that particular time, including the doctor’’.
He was asked if, having received the above information, further inquiries should have been made to establish the reason for John Carthy’s displeasure. Superintendent Byrne replied that his primary concern was the security of the scene. He said that by10:30 p.m. he was as content as he could be that the area was secure and was then asked whether further consideration was given to making inquiries on the
question of the subject’s displeasure and the reasons why he was doing what he was doing. Superintendent Byrne told the Tribunal that:
‘‘certainly consideration was given to trying to discover why John was doing this and we — that is why we looked for family and friends andI was aware that his sister was coming from Galway. I was aware, Mr. Thomas Walsh, his first cousin, andI was told his very best friend was present, had arrived from Cork, soI think we focused in on hoping to gain knowledge from those people with the hope of reassuring John, whatever his problems were, that they could be resolved’’.
When asked whether he attached any significance to the fact that the information that John Carthy would not be pleased to see the gardaı´ was a warning coming from his long-time general practitioner — he stated:
‘‘not particularly, Chairman, no. I could understand anybody in a siege situation would not be pleased to see the police in any shape or form; they some way become antagonists or protagonists in a situation like that’’.
He did not take this as a particular warning because he was surprised ‘‘that the doctor himself wasn’t getting on better’’ with his patient. He accepted that it had not crossed his mind to inquire into the reason why Dr. Cullen had given the warning. He told the Tribunal, that having spoken to the gardaı´ involved, he was satisfied that Dr. Cullen was most helpful, was giving full cooperation and was anxious to assist. He said that he assumed that Dr. Cullen had given all the information that was available to him at that time. However, they had, at that stage, no information about Dr. Shanley. Further, Detective Sergeant Jackson was unaware, at this stage, of the allegation John Carthy had made in relation to his detention. Superintendent Byrne was not aware of this allegation at 10:30 p.m. and he stated that he understood from his discussion with Thomas Walsh ‘‘that John had many difficulties in his life, I didn’t consider that the garda incident was a particular problem; it was a problem’’. Superintendent Byrne did not investigate what Dr. Cullen had on his mind at that time, or throughout the remainder of the incident.
Superintendent Byrne was further queried on whether it was a coincidence that no senior officer or member of the ERU, who had known about the warning that had been given by Dr. Cullen, questioned him about it to find out what really did he mean. He stated that there was certainly no reluctance on his part and ‘‘I know on Superintendent Shelly’s part or anyone else’s’’, to inquire into it if they felt that it merited that strong inquiry. The seriousness of the matter as suggested to him had not occurred to him at that particular time. When asked whether he had considered interviewing Dr. Cullen he stated that he had been aware that Dr. Cullen had been present at 6:00 p.m. and he reiterated that he was satisfied that Dr. Cullen had given full information to the gardaı´ and that if he had any more, it would be forthcoming. It was put to him that ‘‘you just rely on what a junior officer tells you and you don’t think it is necessary to make, on this important matter, any investigation yourself. Nor did any other senior officer.’’ He replied that Dr. Cullen had spoken with Garda Gibbons at 6:00 p.m. He did not accept or believe that it would have been an
embarrassing matter for the gardaı´ for the allegation of assault to emerge and that this may have been a reason for the failure to contact the doctor and inquire further.
Both scene commanders denied that there was any deliberate decision or reason, such as any potential embarrassment associated with an allegation of mistreatment becoming public, for not interviewing Dr. Cullen.
Superintendent Byrne was unsure as to when he became aware of John Carthy’s allegation to Dr. Cullen. Initially he told the Tribunal that he may have learnt of it during the course of the incident, but later he stated that he was unsure of when this was. He was questioned by his own counsel as follows:
‘‘Q. When you say you are not sure, did it come to your knowledge during the course of 19th or 20th or in the period afterwards when the matter was given some publicity?
A. No, it would have come to my notice during the 19th/20th, some time during the night.
Q. The suggestion has been raised by the Chairman that you or the senior
Gardaı´ didn’t want that unhappy situation brought in any way into the
forefront of what was going on ... What have you got to say about that
A. There was no consideration given to that, we had no problem with discussing anything with Dr. Cullen or anybody else
Q. The suggestion is that effectively you were afraid to inquire from Dr. Cullen into what he had said, because this would bring it all tumbling out, is there any truth or substance or fact in that?
A. None whatsoever.’’
Later, referring to the time at which he became aware of the allegation of mistreatment, he stated:
‘‘I am not absolutely certain on that Chairman. I concede I may have even agreed that this morning, but on reflection I am not sure of that, I am aware that he was unhappy that he was arrested and unhappy about a number of things, but whetherI was aware of any ill-treatment or allegation of ill-treatment, I am just not completely clear on that now, because when you heard what now has become an issue because the thing has been gone through so many times.’’
In answer to his counsel’s question as to the extent of his knowledge about the subject’s arrest and detention or any grievance that he may have had about it, he stated that he understood that John Carthy was annoyed that he had been arrested and that he had said that he had not ‘‘done it’’ and that he was blamed in the wrong. He further stated that had he known of the allegation of John Carthy’s mistreatment in custody, it is something that he would have brought to the attention of the negotiator. He reaffirmed that he had no specific recollection as to when he heard about the allegation of mistreatment, and he remained unclear on this point. He also stated that he had spoken to Marie Carthy on several occasions, and also to Thomas
Walsh and that she or he would have been in a position to tell him of such alleged ill-treatment if they had been aware of it. He also stated in answer to his counsel:
‘‘Q. The Chairman has characterised what Dr. Cullen had said as a warning to the gardaı´, at the point in time when you came on duty, did you see it or assess it as a warning or was it something that to your mind was reflected in what John had actually done?
A. I took it as a warning that John was dangerous with the gun, not for any other purpose. I didn’t see any extra warning in the remark the doctor made.
Q. Had you any fear arising out of this, of consulting Dr. Cullen in any respect?
A. Not at all. Dr. Cullen was very cooperative and we spoke to him many times and would have spoken to him — absolutely no fear at all and no reason to have fear.’’
Superintendent Byrne’s contact with Marie Carthy and Martin Shelly
While Superintendent Byrne formally assumed the role of scene commander at 12:00 a.m., he had been in the area from 10:1 5 p.m. onwards. He was present when Marie Carthy and Martin Shelly arrived. He spoke to Ms Carthy, Mr. Shelly and Mr. Walsh shortly after 11:00 p.m. He spoke with her outside Walsh’s house. He stated that he asked her whether she had any knowledge, or could assist as to what was upsetting her brother, or why he was doing this. He stated that: ‘‘I asked the same question four, five or six different ways and her answer at all times was I don’t know, I don’t know’’. Mr. Walsh, he stated, was very forthcoming, most articulate and helpful. He talked about his cousin’s life being in trouble in several ways in the last couple of months. He had lost his job in Galway, his girlfriend had left him and he was upset by this. He had been drinking heavily and Mr. Shelly told the Tribunal that he was concerned for him. Superintendent Byrne felt that Mr. Walsh was giving them full information, as he knew it at that time. Mr. Shelly was quieter, he stated. The only words he could remember Mr. Shelly stating was that he felt that John Carthy would be a bit stubborn.
Attempts to locate Martin Shelly
Sometime shortly before 12:00 a.m. Superintendent Shelly became aware of a discussion between Sergeant Jackson and John Carthy about a reference to ‘‘Pepper’’. He stated that it took a little time to locate Mr. Shelly because whichever garda had dropped Martin Shelly at a house had gone for refreshments and, ‘‘the generality’’ of those present ‘‘didn’t know where Martin Shelly was for a period of time’’. In the log kept by the scene commanders, Martin Shelly and Marie Carthy’s ‘‘whereabouts’’ were described as being ‘‘unknown’’. Superintendent Byrne agreed that given the fact that these were friends and family of John Carthy, that it would have been a good idea to make sure that there was no doubt as to where they might be and that they should have been requested to indicate where they would be during the course of the night if required, and a note made of this. This, he said, was
something that was done later. It was, he said: ‘‘a surprise to us, Superintendent Shelly and I were going back around the Abbe ylara side of the scene and he had a few issues to complete in his log and we were aware that we were anxious to get Martin Shelly’’. He accepted that there was a delay in getting Martin Shelly to the scene and that he would have preferred to have had him there earlier. Questioned by counsel for the Carthy family, he stated that he was unaware of whether anyone at the negotiation post, in the two and a half hours that it took for Mr. Shelly to arrive, had inquired whether there was a problem with locating Mr. Shelly. He had requested gardaı´ on checkpoints to ascertain where ‘‘Pepper’’ was. He accepted that the garda who would most likely have been able to assist was the driver who had brought them away from the scene. This garda was not located and questioned. Superintendent Byrne did not accept that it seemed like no serious effort had been made to locate him. He did not have a satisfactory explanation as to how it might take such a length of time to locate the garda who had driven Mr. Shelly away. He accepted that it was important to comply with this request from John Carthy which might have had a beneficial result and that it was important to comply with it as soon as possible. He stated that the gardaı´ who brought ‘‘Pepper’’ to the scene had not been the ones who brought him away, although he did not know why this was so. It was thought that it would have taken approximately half an hour to have several gardaı´ go to the few houses in the area to ascertain the location of Mr. Shelly and others. He assumed that mobile phones were being used to contact Thomas Walsh or Marie Carthy but told the Tribunal that ‘‘I was at the command post so I wasn’t personally doing it’’. Did this not subvert the trust that was sought to be established between John Carthy and the negotiator, counsel for the family queried? Superintendent Byrne did not accept that he had subverted such trust and that the gardaı´ were ‘‘most anxious to deliver Mr. Shelly’’. By approximately 1:00 a.m., he was most anxious about the situation, but was unaware of whether any members of the family had been contacted. He stated that he was in touch with Sergeant Nally at least twice to inquire of the position. He was not pleased that Martin Shelly could not be found for a period because:
‘‘I would have expected that we would have knowledge of where particularly Marie Carthy was and Martin Shelly. . .I would have expected that we would have known where Marie Carthy in particular was’’.
Further attempts at contact after midnight — a further shot is discharged at 12:51 a.m.
Between midnight and 2:00 a.m., Detective Sergeant Russell observed John Carthy occasionally drinking a beverage. He appeared to be agitated and anxious and from time to time peered out the window pointing his weapon. While observing him during this period, Sergeant Russell stated that the subject never let the weapon out of his hand.
Sergeant Jackson told the Tribunal that in the period after midnight, he repeatedly telephoned the subject on his mobile telephone, but received no reply. He then renewed contact through the loudhailer by requesting him to answer his telephone. His response was one of incoherent mumbling. Then at approximately 12:51 a.m. a
shot was discharged within the house and immediately after the subject said ‘‘Fuck off’’. The evidence suggests that with this shot John Carthy struck and damaged the landline telephone receiver in the kitchen.
The negotiator stated that he continued to ask the subject to stop shooting, and to answer the telephone. He stated that he attempted to keep reassuring him that he was there to help and that the best way out for him was to leave the gun down and come out. He mentioned again how worried his mother, sister, friends and neighbours were about him and that they cared for him. John Carthy replied ‘‘bullshit’’. Sergeant Jackson stated that he reassured him that they did care and that he cared; that all he wanted was for him to come out safely. John Carthy, he stated, laughed at this. Sergeant Jackson then said he had told him that he (Sergeant Jackson) felt his anger and resentment, but he needed to know what happened to make him feel so bad. The subject replied that Sergeant Jackson didn’t care, as he was a guard. The negotiator said that he told the subject that his only reason for being there was to help and that no matter how badly he felt he had been treated previously, he promised that when he came out he would be treated fairly and would not be harmed. He told him his family and friends were worried about him and as an indication of that, Mr. Shelly, he stated, had travelled a long distance to see him and this showed that he was willing and able to help him out of his difficulties. He asked John Carthy to put the gun down and talk to him, and that he (Sergeant Jackson) would sort out the problem. There was no reply. Between 1:30 a.m. and 2:00 a.m., Sergeant Jackson stated that he continued his attempts to contact the subject by telephone, but without reply.
Arrival of Martin Shelly and Marie Carthy at the scene for the second time
The evidence of Superintendent Byrne
At approximately 2:1 5 a.m. Marie Carthy and Martin Shelly arrived at the scene. They stated that they were informed that Martin Shelly would be permitted to attempt to communicate with John Carthy. They walked to the scene and were met outside Walsh’s house. Ms Patricia Leavy, a friend of the Carthy family, accompanied them.
In his evidence, Superintendent Byrne stated that he introduced Martin Shelly to Detective Sergeant Jackson and then went back to talk to Marie Carthy and Ms Patricia Leavy. As Martin Shelly was being prepared to go down to the scene, Marie Carthy said to him; ‘‘I want to go down too and talk to my brother’’. Superintendent Byrne said ‘‘No, not at the moment Marie.’’ He referred to her by her first name as they were, he said, quite friendly at that stage. This was the third time that he met her on that night. He told the Tribunal that Marie Carthy attempted to go by him and that he prevented her from so doing:
‘‘I put out my arm and I blocked her passage and she went to go to the other side of me, she made two attempts and I prevented her from going down because I said it wasn’t right at the time. Martin Shelly, he wanted Martin and we wanted to bring Martin down to him to resolve the situation.’’
He confirmed that Sergeant Jackson and he had a discussion some moments before Mr. Shelly and Marie Carthy arrived to the effect that only Martin Shelly would be allowed down. Therefore, prior to the arrival of either Mr. Shelly or Ms Carthy, the only person that the officers had considered letting down to the scene was Mr. Shelly, because Superintendent Shelly said that ‘‘John had been told we were getting Martin for him and we weren’t going to bring any surprises to John like. We wanted him to trust us and that was the whole tenor through our entire negotiation’’. Superintendent Byrne said: ‘‘I wasn’t anticipating that Marie was going to make an issue of it’’. Although he was of the opinion that she was drunk, it had been predetermined, alcohol or no alcohol, that Marie Carthy was not going to be permitted to talk to her brother at that time.
Superintendent Byrne in his evidence stated that he felt that Marie Carthy was under the influence of alcohol; that she was drunk. He formed this opinion from his observation that she was swaying and her speech was ‘‘quite slurred’’. In answer to counsel for the family, Superintendent Byrne stated that Marie Carthy could stand up but that she was socially drunk; she was swaying and her speech was not clear. However, in answer to the Chairman, he stated that he did not smell alcohol and that she did not have to be supported by Ms Leavy. He had spoken to her twice previously and she was not drunk when he spoke to her at 11:00 p.m. and at sometime around 11:30 p.m. This was now 2:1 5 a.m. He accepted that he did not indicate Marie Carthy’s insobriety to any member of the family, ‘‘even in the most discreet way’’. He did not suggest that she could go off and have a cup of coffee, which according to counsel for the family, would have been a very discreet way of dealing with the situation. Superintendent Byrne stated that he had no wish to upset the family any more than they were already. He did not agree that he had to justify why Marie Carthy did not speak to her brother. Superintendent Byrne stated that there was no decision made not to let Marie Carthy down to the scene:
‘‘Q. One final question in relation to the issue of Marie Carthy being let down to the scene: Mr. Gageby [counsel for the Carthy Family] was asking you when it was decided that Marie wouldn’t be allowed to visit; was it on the occasion when she first came to the scene or was it simply on the occasion when she tried to get past you, that you made a decision as to whether she would actually be allowed down?
A. There was no decision made to prevent Marie Carthy at any stage, except when she wanted to go down with Martin Shelly at that time. There was no other decision to that effect. I was hoping Marie Carthy would go down and talk to John at some stage but it never happened’’.
Superintendent Byrne was asked to explain why, in his log, he had made no reference to the sobriety or insobriety or giddiness in respect of Ms Leavy or Marie Carthy. He accepted that he had not done so and told the Tribunal that when he was making his original statement to the Culligan Inquiry he had described Ms Carthy to them as being distressed. Superintendent Callaghan who had questioned him asked him ‘‘what do you mean by distressed?’’ Superintendent Byrne said that he replied that
‘‘she was drunk’’. He said that Superintendent Callaghan told him ‘‘that is what you had better put down’’.
In evidence, Superintendent Byrne considered that Marie Carthy had a serious family problem that evening and he had no wish to add to the burden.
Superintendent Byrne also told the Tribunal that Ms Leavy was not under the influence of alcohol, but she was giddy. ‘‘She was laughing and chirpy’’ he said, and:
‘‘she seemed to make light of the whole situation and when I asked her her name, because I didn’t know her — I knew the other two people — she said, ‘I’m not going to give you my name’. It was quite an unusual response in the circumstances we found ourselves’’.
He stated that subsequently she explained that her name was Leavy and that she had come from Australia that day. Ms Leavy did not recollect having been reluctant to give Superintendent Byrne her name. She stated that she did give him her surname.
When Marie Carthy indicated that she was anxious to speak to her brother, did he rethink the matter of her going down? He replied no; again for the previously stated reason that John Carthy
‘‘. . .was expecting Martin Shelly and it was Martin Shelly we were going to produce for him at that time or at least, if we were going to change things, we would have gone down and told him and see could we get acceptance for somebody else’’.
Superintendent Byrne confirmed that Martin Shelly went down to the scene at approximately 2:30 a.m. and arrived back shortly before 3:00 a.m. When Mr. Shelly left, Superintendent Byrne discussed the matter with Sergeant Jackson. He inquired as to how Martin Shelly got on and he was told ‘‘no good at all’’. John Carthy did not respond and they could not get dialogue going with him.
The evidence of Ms Marie Carthy
Ms Carthy told the Tribunal that she was informed that it was too dangerous for her to go to the negotiation point. She stated that she was anxious to speak with her brother and felt that he would listen to her if she had the opportunity to speak with him. She also told the Tribunal that she attempted to get past members of the gardaı´ so that she could speak with her brother, but was prevented from going down to the negotiation point. She refuted the evidence that she was drunk, saying that, she had only one hot whiskey in the Devine house because they had previously been outside in the cold for several hours. That she had only one hot whiskey when in Devine’s was confirmed in evidence by Mr. Devine, who told the Tribunal that Thomas Walsh, Mrs. Devine and the Devine’s daughter-in-law also had one hot whiskey. His son, who came in later had another one, and the remainder of the bottle, which was not full at the outset, was offered to Martin Shelly, who accepted it. He thought that the group was in his house for two hours, or more, talking. Mr. Devine said that when Ms Carthy and Mr. Shelly arrived initially, they had ‘‘definitely no drink’’ taken. Marie
Carthy also told the Tribunal that she had not taken any alcohol before arriving in Abbeylara at approximately 11:00 p.m. She stated that she made several attempts during the night to call her brother on his mobile telephone and on the home phone but she did not make contact with him.
Detective Garda Campbell’s evidence
Garda Campbell told the Tribunal that he was standing on the road near the jeep when Marie Carthy, Ms Leavy and Mr. Shelly arrived. He thought that Marie Carthy was agitated and upset and wished to go down to speak to her brother. He stated that she was persuaded not to, that she then sat into the jeep and he sat in beside her.
Garda Campbell was questioned as follows:
‘‘Q. Did you form any view as to whether she was anything more than agitated, which we can all understand, and upsetI presume?
On further questioning, however, his evidence changed and he stated that he got a smell of alcohol from her and that she was fidgety. He formed the view that she was ‘‘under the influence of alcohol’’ and formed the impression that she was a bit annoyed about not being let down to speak to John Carthy. He said that he was ‘‘100% sure’’ of the fact that Ms Carthy was under the influence of drink on that occasion. This contradicts his original evidence about her state at the time he met her.
The evidence of Patricia Leavy
By way of background, it is to be noted that Ms Patricia Leavy is originally from Abbeylara and worked in Dublin since 1995. Her contact with Abbeylara from then, she stated, was at holiday times and at weekends. However, her family continued to live in Abbeylara. She went to school with Marie Carthy and knew her for most of her life. She knew all the members of the Carthy family. She was aware of John Carthy’s illness from its onset when he was 18 or 19 years of age. She told the Tribunal that Marie Carthy was somebody to whom John Carthy looked when he became ill. She recalled being in the house when Dr. Cullen called to see him. She knew that he was treated in St. Loman’s hospital and she visited him in St. Loman’s on occasions. She visited him in Galway also and was aware that he had manic depression. She knew, too, that John Carthy did not like St. Loman’s because ‘‘he told me that himself’’.
Ms Leavy had been on holidays in Australia in April, 2000. She arrived back in Ireland on 19th April and returned to Abbeylara between 6:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. She became aware of the incident and telephoned the Carthy house between 8:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. She wished to speak with Mrs. Carthy. The phone was answered but she did not know by whom. No one spoke. In evidence she stated that she thought that she asked whether it was the Carthy household, ‘‘knowing that it was’’. She introduced herself, and stated that she was Patricia Leavy and wished to speak to Rose ‘‘I suppose, in a sense, I didn’t want to alarm the fact that it could possibly be John’’. However, she formed the impression that she was being listened to and that
the phone had not just been left aside because she could hear what she described as ‘‘heavy breathing’’. She remained on the phone for a while and then whoever was on the line ‘‘just hung up’’. She said that John Carthy would have known her voice. She rang again a second time. Once again the phone was answered but there was no response. She asked for Mrs. Carthy and inquired as to whom she was speaking. Once again she stated that she got no reply. The phone was put down again. These calls occurred in quick succession, she said. She thereafter rang Marie Carthy on her mobile phone at around 9:00 p.m. and was informed that the gardaı´ had called to see her in Galway and that she was on her way from there with the guards in a garda car. She arranged to meet her in the village. She thought that Marie Carthy telephoned her five or six times between 9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. She met her at approximately 11:00 p.m. Ms Carthy informed her that both she and Martin Shelly were going to the scene. Ms Leavy knew that shots had been fired from the house. She stated that she then went to Devine’s, opposite the church. In the house at that time were Mrs. Devine and other members of the Devine family. According to Ms Leavy, Marie Carthy phoned her:
‘‘to tell me mainly the same thing, that the guards weren’t allowing her to speak to John and that she wanted to, she wished to speak to John at that stage’’.
She stated in evidence that Mr. Shelly and Ms Carthy came back down from the scene shortly before midnight and that they went into Devine’s house. She did recall Marie Carthy telling her that John Carthy had asked his mother to leave the house.
Mrs. Devine made a hot whiskey for anyone who wanted one. It was a cold night. Marie Carthy had one hot whiskey. Mr. Shelly also had one. Ms Leavy did not have a hot whiskey. Ms Leavy said that Marie Carthy was not under the influence of alcohol and that when she had arrived from Galway she had no drink taken. She observed Marie Carthy having one hot whiskey only and stated that she was in her company at all times. She stated in evidence that there were no other hot whiskeys made after that.
Ms Leavy stated that the gardaı´ called to the house at approximately 1:45 a.m. She told the Tribunal that they were looking for Martin Shelly only and that they wanted him to go down to the scene because John Carthy had requested or agreed to speak to him. Martin Shelly, Marie Carthy and she, went up to a position just beside Burke’s. According to Ms Leavy, the gardaı´ were proposing that Mr. Shelly would go down and speak with John Carthy. She understood from a conversation between Martin Shelly, Marie Carthy and her, that he had requested to speak with Mr. Shelly and that is why the gardaı´ had asked Mr. Shelly to go down to the scene. She also told the Tribunal that she could get the ‘‘gist’’ of what was being said between Mr. Shelly and John Carthy. He spoke to the subject about all the good times and was using a megaphone. He tried to remain positive and ‘‘asked John repeatedly to come out of the house’’. Ms Leavy did not believe that there was a response.
Ms Leavy told the Tribunal that Marie Carthy:
‘‘would have been very anxious to speak to John and requested permission to go down. She asked a few times to speak with her brother. They were reluctant
to let her down and they explained to Marie as to why she wasn’t allowed to go down’’.
She said that it was explained that she could not go down because of a concern ‘‘. . .around having too many people at the scene at any one time and that she would get a chance to speak to John later’’. Marie Carthy was not happy with that explanation and, Ms Leavy stated, attempted to walk down the road herself. Ms Leavy then observed a garda standing in front of her and blocking her way. She said that she returned to Devine’s house with Marie Carthy and Mr. Shelly, following his attempts to negotiate, and stayed there for the remainder of the night. She stated that the gardaı´ gave them an indication that Marie Carthy would get to speak with her brother.
She stated that the garda stood in front of Ms Carthy but she did not recall him pushing her. Superintendent Byrne held his arms out, she stated, but he never pushed Marie Carthy at any stage. She did not agree that Marie Carthy was agitated whilst on the roadway. She stated:
‘‘obviously, she was very anxious and very upset that her brother was in the house and she was concerned for his safety, but to go and say that she was agitated, where she was at the point that she was getting extremely annoyed or not listening to what the guards were saying, that did not occur’’.
Ms Leavy suggested to the Tribunal that Marie Carthy was distressed rather than being under the influence of alcohol. She was clear that Ms Carthy did not have any other drink, apart from one hot whiskey. She was in her company at all times. She further agreed that it would be ‘‘fair to say’’ that there was no blanket decision by the gardaı´ that Marie Carthy was not to see her brother.
She told the Tribunal that when Ms Carthy sat back in the command jeep she became calm after approximately one minute. According to Superintendent Byrne, she was calm and fine for the rest of that half hour, when Mr. Shelly was down at the negotiation point.
Martin Shelly attempts to make contact with John Carthy
Detective Garda Sullivan met Mr. Shelly on the road outside Walsh’s house and informed him that he was going to bring him down to speak to John Carthy and that he had mentioned his name and requested to speak with him. He was told that he would be brought to the negotiation point and that he would be speaking through a loudhailer. He was also brought up to date on the general progress of the negotiations and was informed that John Carthy had been firing shots. Garda Sullivan escorted Mr. Shelly to the negotiation point, crouching down to take cover behind the wall. Mr. Shelly gave evidence that no protective or ballistic shield was used; nor was he offered the use of any protective clothing. This is denied by members of the ERU who were present and who stated that a ballistic shield was used at all times when bringing members of the public to the negotiation point. Mr. Shelly was introduced to Sergeant Jackson and was informed by him that he would tell him
what to say. He told him to ask John Carthy what was wrong; to tell him that they all cared about him and loved him; that his mother and sister loved him and that everyone wanted to help him and did not want him to come to any harm.
Mr. Shelly was crouched behind the wall at the negotiation point with part of his head over the wall; the loudhailer was on the wall. He had a clear view of the gable-end of the Carthy house and could see the kitchen window. Mr. Shelly said what he had been instructed to say, but received no response. John Carthy came to the window once or twice while he was speaking. Mr. Shelly repeated himself several times. Sergeant Jackson was beside him, prompting him what to say and encouraging him by saying that he was doing a good job. Martin Shelly was happy to take the guidance of Sergeant Jackson and was permitted to use ‘‘his own words’’ in attempting to engage John Carthy in dialogue. They waited at the negotiation point for a little time to see if there was any response. Mr. Shelly was then given a ten-minute break where he sat in a car to rest. There appears to be some dispute as to the length of time in total that Martin Shelly spent at the negotiation point. Mr. Shelly is of the view that he was there for about one and a half hours and at the scene for a total of approximately two hours on that occasion. Mr. Shelly was then brought back to the entrance of Walsh’s. Again he stated that no protective barriers were used. He returned to Devine’s house where Ms Carthy and Ms Leavy were waiting for him.
Dr. Cullen is contacted Detective Sergeant Jackson’s request
Sergeant Jackson told the Tribunal that sometime between 3:00 a.m. and 3:30 a.m., he directed that further inquiries be made of Dr. Cullen. He stated that his inquiries were twofold; first, specifically in relation to John Carthy’s medication and the effects that could be expected from this; and, second, an open-ended request to Dr. Cullen for any background, or other information, that might help in the negotiations.
Dr. Cullen’s evidence
Dr. Cullen told the Tribunal that at approximately 4:00 a.m., he received a telephone call from the gardaı´ stating that they wanted to come to his house. Two gardaı´ arrived. These were Garda Campbell and Sergeant Nally, whom Dr. Cullen knew. They were seeking ‘‘medical records or information which might be of help to them in the conduct of the negotiation between the negotiator and John’’. Dr. Cullen retrieved and photocopied certain medical reports and records which were on his file. These were the reports concerning John Carthy’s first admission to St. Loman’s from Dr. McGeown dated 10th April, 1992, a copy of the report from Dr. Shanley, dated 12th April, 1995 and a copy of the admission note from University College Hospital Galway, dated 15th January, 1999, relating to John Carthy’s first admission to that hospital on 26th December, 1998. He believed that these records were being sought because the negotiator thought that ‘‘they might be of help to him in resolving the situation’’. He thought that the garda who called to his surgery informed him of this. This was the first time that he had become aware of the presence of the
negotiator. He stated that he had no recollection of asking the gardaı´ whether he could be of further assistance to them at that stage. He was sure that he ‘‘had some conversation’’ with the gardaı´ about the nature of his patient’s difficulties, but could not recollect the detail thereof. He agreed with counsel for the Carthy family that he did not seem to have been asked ‘‘in any particular way’’ to share his expertise with the negotiating team or other gardaı´, apart from the provision of reports.
Detective Garda Campbell’s evidence
Garda Campbell stated that in the early hours of the morning he was requested by Sergeant Jackson to attempt to make contact with Dr. Cullen. He went out to the doctor’s home with Sergeant Nally. He asked Dr. Cullen whether he had any information that could assist the gardaı´ in dealing with John Carthy. He said that the doctor went into his surgery and took out his file and went through it. He saw that Dr. Cullen had some reports on file and he asked whether he could bring them away with him. Dr. Cullen gave him photocopies. He also stated that he had a general discussion about the subject’s illness and remembered Dr. Cullen mentioning ‘‘lithium’’, and that his patient had ‘‘highs and lows’’. He stated that he did not hear the words ‘‘manic depression’’ mentioned at all. Garda Campbell had never come across an incident involving manic depression in his experience as a garda. Nor had he ever come across an incident involving someone who was depressed and who was in possession of a shotgun. Garda Campbell learned from Dr. Cullen that when his patient was high he would be agitated. He did not inquire from him as to the severity of the depression. He did not read the reports that were given to him by Dr. Cullen, nor did he did seek information as to how long he had been treating John Carthy. He did not inquire from the doctor as to whether his patient had been in receipt of specialist medical attention. He believed that he subsequently read the reports and he learned of the involvement of Dr. Shanley. When Garda Campbell returned to the scene at Abbeylara he gave the documents to Sergeant Jackson who was then at the command post. He informed the negotiator of what had taken place at Dr. Cullen’s surgery and told him that John Carthy was on lithium and was suffering from highs and lows. It was suggested to Garda Campbell by counsel for Dr. Cullen that on receipt of the three reports the Garda Sı´ocha´na had all the information they could conceivably need on this subject in relation to John Carthy, to deal with the situation that had arisen. Garda Campbell stated that if all the information in Dr. Cullen’s possession was in the three medical reports, then he was satisfied that that is what he had got. He agreed that had Dr. Cullen any other information that might have been of interest he would have given it to Garda Campbell.
Superintendent Byrne’s evidence
Superintendent Byrne stated that there were two elements to the inquiry sought by Sergeant Jackson; namely, the effect that the medication would have on John Carthy and, any other matter upon which Dr. Cullen could assist. While Garda Campbell was in the vicinity, Superintendent Byrne was unsure whether he was present when he, Superintendent Byrne, spoke to Sergeant Jackson on this point. He stated in evidence that he went to Garda Campbell and instructed him to go to Dr. Cullen. Superintendent Byrne told him:
‘‘I said will you go around and see what effect the medication could be having on him and whatever else, whatI meant by whatever else, is a mute point’’.
Superintendent Byrne confirmed that it had not occurred to him up to then that the subject may be under special psychiatric care or that a person who had manic depression may have been in receipt of ongoing care from a psychiatrist. It was not a matter that was specifically requested to be taken up with Dr. Cullen:
‘‘in relation to a query as to whether one of the matters which may have been taken up with Dr. Cullen is the question of a specialist psychiatrist ... not specifically, no. No more than the issue about the warning, as you say that the doctor gave us earlier. I didn’t address those issues specifically’’.
Superintendent Byrne confirmed that he had no special medical knowledge, and thought, without giving it deep consideration, that manic depression was a more serious form of depression. He stated that Garda Campbell was gone for approximately one hour and that on his return he spoke directly to Sergeant Jackson and not to him.
Superintendent Byrne stated that the specific information that he had asked Garda Campbell ‘‘to find out’’, was discovered. He said:
‘‘I asked him to know what effect the medication would be having on John and he asked that question and he responded to me by saying that Dr. Cullen had answered that he didn’t know because he didn’t know whether John was taking his medication or not.’’
When asked what further information he had gleaned from Dr. Cullen, Superintendent Byrne confirmed that Garda Campbell brought back notes from Dr. Cullen which Sergeant Jackson read. He (Superintendent Byrne) also read the reports.
‘‘I did. I noticed the last sentence, when I was concerned that now we have a psychiatrist, Dr. Shanley, who seemingly got on well with John. That was the first intimation thatI had that he had a particular psychiatrist.’’
This information was contained in the letter dated 12th April, 1995 from Dr. Shanley to Dr. Cullen. He told the Tribunal that what he found progressive, or helpful about this inquiry, is that they had now discovered Dr. Shanley and in fact ‘‘we discussed that at the time, Detective Sergeant Jackson andI, and we said we will see will we try and get him in the morning; can he help us’’. He was asked had he known the subject had an appointment for 2:00 p.m. the following afternoon if that would have been important information, and he stated that ‘‘I assume it would’’ as it would confirm to him that Dr. Shanley was still in touch with his patient. The document he saw was five years old at the time and he did not know if Dr. Shanley had subsequently met his patient. He intended to ask him or to have him asked that question in the morning. He did not consider getting back to Dr. Cullen at that time to ask him if Dr. Shanley was continuing to see John Carthy. He stated that ‘‘I didn’t consider that. I now was relieved that we had a psychiatrist that may be dealing with John, but it was only a ‘‘may’’ at that stage’’.
Superintendent Byrne did not personally visit Dr. Cullen. He told the Tribunal that Chief Superintendent Tansey had given instructions that the superintendent was to remain at the scene ‘‘but that in itself wasn’t necessarily the reason that I didn’t go around to Dr. Cullen’’. He contended that he did not see any merit in bringing Dr. Cullen to the scene. He had sent Garda Campbell to Dr. Cullen at his home. In a further answer to a question as to whether he thought it would have been helpful to inquire of Dr. Cullen the gravity and severity of John Carthy’s mental illness, he stated, however, ‘‘it possibly would, Chairman. I didn’t — I accepted that John had been ill’’.
While he understood that there were psychological services available to the Garda Sı´ocha´na, he did not at that time consider consulting the psychologist, who may have been available that night.
Concern is expressed about intermediaries coming to the scene
At approximately 3:25 a.m. a further shot was fired. It hit the wall at the negotiation point. Sergeant Jackson called on John Carthy to stop shooting and put the gun down but received no reply. At approximately 3:30 a.m. a further shot was fired at the negotiation point, hitting the wall. Sergeant Jackson again attempted to speak but the subject’s response was, according to Sergeant Jackson, to smile or smirk and shake his gun out the window in what Sergeant Jackson described as a ‘‘defiant and challenging fashion’’. As a result of the shots, Detective Sergeant Russell expressed a concern to Sergeant Jackson that they may have ‘‘to suspend any intermediaries coming to the scene’’ at that time. He was more worried about John Carthy’s behaviour then than he had been before. He communicated this view to Superintendent Byrne. The subject was then seen by Sergeant Jackson ‘‘clearing some stuff off the floor and waving a blanket in preparation for rest’’. Superintendent Byrne stated, ‘‘I said that if he rests now, we could be lucky that in the morning when he comes to again, he will be in much better form’’.
Consideration of the relocation of the negotiation post
Superintendent Byrne told the Tribunal that he was conscious of, and accepted the risk associated with, the location of the negotiation post. However he also knew that Sergeant Jackson felt that it was beneficial to be at that point trying to develop rapport. The decision to locate the negotiation post was made before he went on duty as scene commander but it was not a decision which he reviewed at this time because John Carthy rested until 8:00 a.m.
Sergeant Russell said that he did not at that time discuss with Sergeant Jackson the question of withdrawing the negotiation post from its then position. It was considered important, he said, to keep the negotiations going. Sergeant Russell made the point that if the subject had indicated at any stage that he did not want to have them in that location, he could have gone to another part of the house and ‘‘ignored us completely’’. He told the Tribunal that he thought that the ‘‘curious thing’’ about the whole incident was that on the occasions when the subject did not engage actively with Sergeant Jackson, he mostly remained near the kitchen window. He agreed,
however, that there might be a possible explanation. If he had moved to some other part of the house; he would not be able to see what was going on and he might consider that he was leaving himself open to invasion.
Issues relating to the location of the negotiation point are considered in Chapter 6.
John Carthy requests cigarettes
This request which was made shortly before 3:25 a.m., and the Garda response to it are examined in detail in Chapter 6.
The delivery plan
On being informed of the request, Superintendent Byrne spoke with Sergeant Russell and requested him to advise how they were going to get the cigarettes in to John Carthy. Sergeant Russell said that there was no problem and that he had a plan in his head, which he had possibly used on a previous occasion. That plan effectively was that the subject would stand in full view at the window from which he had been firing, without the gun in his possession. Another member of the ERU under Sergeant Russell’s command would deliver the item to the step at the hall door and thereafter move away. The cigarettes would be placed on the hall doorstep and ‘‘our person could get away in safety’’. If John Carthy moved, the plan was to be aborted.
Sergeant Russell stated that he explained to the Superintendent the danger not only to gardaı´ but to John Carthy of the initiation of action if, for example, they went to deliver cigarettes and were compromised. That might result in the taking of action which might lead to a serious confrontation. He also stated that he expressed concern that a safe method of delivery would have to be agreed. He requested Sergeant Jackson, in the event that he was going to offer the cigarettes, to get John Carthy to agree to ‘‘just put the gun out of harm’s way until he got them’’.
According to Sergeant Russell, Sergeant Jackson took on board his concerns and explained them to John Carthy. He stated that he heard the negotiator saying to the subject that he wanted to give him cigarettes:
‘‘but John we have to agree a safe method of delivery and we want you to put the gun out of harm’s way until we get them into to you and. . .we would like to get you cigarettes but we are concerned about the gun, we are concerned about the shots being fired’’.
The prospect of throwing cigarettes over the wall for collection by the subject, near the house, was not something that commended itself to Sergeant Russell, because he stated that he was not convinced that John Carthy would leave the gun in the house and he did not want him coming out into the garden with the gun. It was obvious from very early on, he said, that John Carthy was not going to throw out the weapon and he was happier when he remained in the house. He also told the Tribunal that in so far as Superintendent Byrne’s evidence suggested that he, Sergeant Russell, had stated that delivery would not be a problem, it was not ‘‘as simple as
that’’. He accepted that tactically, it would not have been a problem if the subject understood the implications and agreed to comply. He accepted that a layperson might find it difficult to understand why the cigarettes were not delivered but he was aware that there were reasons from a negotiation perspective. He also accepted that if he had been asked to deliver a bottle of milk or a packet of cigarettes in the course of reconnaissance, he would have had no problem ‘‘none whatsoever Mr. Chairman, butI wouldn’t necessarily involve myself with the merits or whatever of the issue’’. It was never canvassed with him whether he would be in a position to deliver an item without reference to, or without agreement by, John Carthy as to the means of delivery. Nevertheless, he contended that it was a matter of negotiation strategy and that there was a risk involved.
Superintendent Byrne stated that the safe delivery of ‘‘any item’’ was discussed at 4:00 a.m. He discussed with the negotiator whether they might consider leaving the cigarettes at the door but he told him that it would not be beneficial to leave them without consent or cooperation.
The three requests — combined effect of delay? Superintendent Byrne’s opinion
The effect of potential perception of delay from John Carthy’s perspective concerning the three issues (the cigarettes, the solicitor and Mr. Shelly) was canvassed with Superintendent Byrne. To isolate these issues, he stated, was to pick three negatives and to fail to appreciate all the positives that had taken place. Sergeant Jackson, he stated, had reassured and attempted to build up John Carthy’s confidence.
Removal of car ignition keys, reconnaissance and consideration of entry
At approximately 4:00 a.m. Sergeant Russell learned from Superintendent Byrne that the key of the unmarked garda car which had been abandoned in the driveway had been left in the ignition. There was concern that if the subject left the house he could make use of the car and it was decided that the keys should be removed. At this time, he was out of sight and Sergeant Russell established, through his colleagues, that he had not presented himself at any window or other room within the house. In fact, as it transpired, John Carthy did not appear again at the kitchen window until approximately 8:00 a.m. However, the light remained on in the kitchen.
‘‘When all was quiet,’’ Sergeant Russell instructed Detective Garda Flaherty to afford him cover while he attempted to remove the car keys. He decided to use this opportunity to ‘‘learn as much intelligence about the actual site and the area . . . information that could be useful to us at a later stage’’. He had discussed this with Superintendent Byrne who had agreed that if the appropriate opportunity presented itself to obtain intelligence, that he should do so. While there was no particular discussion with the superintendent as to how far he would go, he stated that he was
relying on Sergeant Russell’s experience as to the extent of the reconnaissance he would undertake.
At 4:30 a.m. Sergeant Russell began his reconnaissance of the house spending approximately 15 minutes in doing so. He approached the car and removed the keys. He then moved along the house in a covert manner, checking whether the windows were locked. He arrived at the front door, where he:
‘‘I paused for a moment and again, I am looking at the possibility that at some stage there would be a request for us, I know it might seem remote but nevertheless there could be a time when I might be asked to go tactical or to make an intervention, and I saw this as an ideal opportunity to actually prepare for that’’.
The front door was locked. This was important information for Detective Garda Ryan, the breacher. He paused at the window on the right side of the front door. There was a hole in the frame of that window, probably the size of an old two-shilling piece. He peered through the hole and saw the subject lying on a couch on the far side of the kitchen, with a blanket up to his mid-chest area. Sergeant Russell could not see the gun, however. He observed John Carthy moving, shuffling from side to side and Sergeant Russell was concerned that he may not have been totally asleep. He observed the physical layout of the premises and became concerned that not only did it have an outer or main door, but there was also a secondary door inside the porch. The porch/hall area was quite narrow and he was concerned that if they did enter, they might be caught in what is described as ‘‘a choke point’’ — i.e., a narrow area between the two doors. Therefore, because he was not satisfied that the subject was asleep, that he did not know where the gun was and that he was concerned about the internal layout of the building, he stated that to attempt an entry at that time would have been highly dangerous:
‘‘If at any stage during our entry he was alerted and attempted to arm himself with a gun we would have had no option but to discharge firearms’’.
In the circumstances, Superintendent Byrne ruled out covert entry as being too dangerous.
Negotiation effort between 4:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m.
Garda Campbell and Sergeant Nally, who had been earlier sent to Dr. Cullen, returned to the scene and were spoken to by Sergeant Jackson who read the documents given to them by Dr. Cullen. The negotiator and Superintendent Byrne discussed Dr. Shanley’s involvement and it was decided that the psychiatrist would be contacted in the morning, at ‘‘normal hours’’, if John Carthy’s condition had not improved and if the situation was not resolved at that stage. Detective Garda Sullivan went for a rest period at approximately 4:30 a.m. Sergeant Jackson tried to contact John Carthy through the loudhailer but he did not appear at the window. The reason for this was to assist Sergeant Russell’s reconnaissance of the scene, in that he was anxious to establish whether John Carthy was asleep, and if not, that he may show himself to the gardaı´, which would affect any reconnaissance. Between 5:00 a.m.
and 8:00 a.m. John Carthy continued to rest. The scene commander and the negotiator were hoping that the subject would be in better form in the morning. Garda Sullivan returned to the negotiation point and Sergeant Jackson went for a rest break at 5:30 a.m. Between 5:30 a.m. and 8:00 a.m., Garda Sullivan stated that he made three or four requests of John Carthy, by both loudhailer and by shouting over the wall in the following terms: ‘‘John, are you awake?’’ Sergeant Jackson said in his statement to the Tribunal that he instructed Garda Sullivan ‘‘to continue to attempt to have dialogue with John, with instructions to contact me if John began talking’’. Garda Sullivan said in evidence that his requests to John Carthy were motivated by ‘‘safety issues.’’ Between 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. Garda Sullivan placed two concrete blocks on either side of the pillar at the negotiation point so as to provide the negotiation team with some protection and to enable them to get a view of the subject’s position through a narrow gap between the block and the pillar. Sergeant Jackson returned to the negotiation point at approximately 8:30 a.m.
The television cable is severed
The negotiator became concerned about the fact that John Carthy had television and by the manner in which he had been turning the volume up and down during the evening. In Sergeant Jackson’s view this was hampering his efforts to make contact with the subject. He was also concerned about media coverage. He stated that he spoke to Superintendent Byrne and Sergeant Russell and that it was agreed that the television cable should be severed.
Superintendent Byrne stated in evidence that the ‘‘idea’’ of severing the television cable to the house came during the course of discussions with one of the two detective sergeants. He was concerned about the feasibility of severing the television cable. Indeed, he stated that he was even considering a covert entry into the house at that time. These matters were discussed with Sergeant Russell. The last thing that he wished to do was to ‘‘escalate the situation’’. They were trying to keep things calm. It was calm at that time of the morning and he had no wish to ‘‘up the ante’’ .
At approximately 6:00 a.m. Sergeant Russell once again approached the house in a manner similar to his earlier approach. At this stage it was starting to get bright but ‘‘there wasn’t too much light’’. He approached the house and having satisfied himself that John Carthy was still resting, he cut the television cable which was in the area of the front gable wall.
Detective Sergeant Russell rests
Following the cutting of the television cable, Sergeant Russell told Superintendent Byrne that he wished to rest as he was satisfied that the subject was still resting. In evidence, he said that he made arrangements for members of the ERU under his control to avail of rest periods. He was not replaced by another detective sergeant during the incident, though he stated that later in the siege it became a consideration that he should be replaced when they were heading in to a second night. This did not occur because the incident ended at approximately 6:00 p.m. Sergeant Russell
had no discussion with the scene commanders as to what time they had commenced duty on the previous day. During the course of 20th April, Sergeant Russell spoke to Detective Inspector Hogan regarding his own relief, but he did not discuss that of Sergeant Jackson.
Detective Sergeant Jackson rests
The negotiator rested from approximately 5:30 a.m. until 8:00 a.m. Sometime between 4:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. Superintendent Byrne asked Sergeant Jackson how he was ‘‘holding up’’. He recounted that the latter told him that ‘‘he felt that he was beginning to get to John and he hoped to use the situation relating to the cigarettes in a positive manner later on’’.
Detective Sergeant Russell’s contact with Garda Headquarters regarding relief personnel
During the course of the night, Sergeant Russell made contact with Garda Headquarters and kept Inspector Hogan informed of developments. At approximately 7:1 5 a.m. he spoke to Detective Sergeant Commiskey and requested that three additional detective gardaı´ attend at the scene to relieve persons on the inner cordon who he felt needed rest. Three additional ERU officers arrived at lunchtime, i.e., Detective Gardaı´ McCabe, Finnegan and Sisk.
SECTION F: — The Morning’s Events
Garda Frank Reynolds is requested to visit the family
Garda Reynolds who was stationed at Granard took up duty at 6:00 a.m. on 20th April. He had no previous dealings with John Carthy and was informed by Superintendent Byrne about the incident. At about 8:00 a.m. Garda Reynolds met Superintendent Byrne and they were joined by members of the ERU. The superintendent instructed him to go to the Mahon house to see how Mrs. Carthy was and to ascertain whether there was any new information. Garda Reynolds said that Superintendent Byrne instructed him to find out if there was anything in recent time that would ‘‘put John in good form’’. Interestingly, he did not recollect ever having been told that John Carthy had a mental illness history. Garda Reynolds accompanied by Garda Carthy went to the Mahon house and was met by Mrs. Patricia Mahon. Mrs. Carthy was sleeping when he arrived. He waited and shortly thereafter spoke to her for approximately fifteen to twenty minutes. Two of her nieces were present during the interview. She appeared upset but agreed to answer questions. Garda Reynolds asked her whether there was anything that might put her son in good humour or which might be of assistance to the negotiator. Her response was that her son was anxious to return to Galway but that she believed that there
was something preventing him from returning. He appeared to have been happy in Galway, she stated. She also informed Garda Reynolds that her son had been in great form, that he had a relationship with a girlfriend, that it had broken up, and she thought that recently he had not been himself since the break-up. Garda Reynolds was told that as the new Carthy house was nearing completion, there had been discussions about moving into it and that Mrs. Carthy had found that her son was very reluctant to move from the old house. Garda Reynolds wrote in his notebook to the following effect — ‘‘Marie came up to bring him down to Galway’’. He stated that he got the impression from Mrs. Carthy that Marie Carthy intended to bring her brother back to Galway but that there had been a reluctance on his part to go on a previous occasion.
Garda Reynolds inquired about the arrest of John Carthy in 1998. Mrs. Carthy introduced the topic by saying that after her son had been released that he was getting some ‘‘slagging’’ in the area about the arrest and that he had taken it to heart. Garda Reynolds told the Tribunal that Mrs. Carthy felt that moving house; the goat incident and the breakdown of the relationship were events that had contributed to that situation. Garda Reynolds had been aware of the goat incident prior to this conversation and he understood it to be common knowledge in the locality. He was aware that John Carthy had been exonerated from any involvement in the incident. He had not heard of any allegation of assault until after 20th April, 2000.
Mrs. Patricia Mahon recollected telling the gardaı´ about Dr. Shanley and that John Carthy had been due to go for a check-up on that day. The gardaı´ who called to the house had no recollection of being so informed. Garda Reynolds said that the first time he heard of Dr. Shanley, or was aware of his relevance or involvement, was when Superintendent Shelly asked him to meet the doctor in Edgeworthstown on the afternoon of 20th April.
In her evidence to the Tribunal, Ms Ann Walsh stated that she had enquired from the gardaı´ how things had been during the night and was informed that her cousin had slept from 4:00 a.m. She confirmed that the gardaı´ ‘‘wanted to know if there was anything he would like to hear when he would wake up’’. Ms Walsh replied ‘‘he was looking forward to going back to Galway after his mother moved into the new house’’. She also said that she told the gardaı´ of his liking for handball.
Garda Reynolds returned to the scene about 9:00 a.m. where he met Superintendent Byrne.
The superintendent confirmed that his officer had come back from Mrs. Carthy with ‘‘three issues’’. These were that John Carthy was very upset about losing his girlfriend; that Mrs. Carthy felt that the girl had let him down; that he was reluctant to go back to Galway, although Superintendent Byrne stated that he found this reason difficult to understand; and that the subject did not want to leave the old house.
Garda Reynolds returned to Mahon’s for a second visit to make inquiries of Marie Carthy
About 10:30 a.m. Garda Reynolds returned to the Mahon house hoping to speak to Marie Carthy. Superintendent Byrne had requested him to make general inquiries of her. Garda Carthy accompanied him to the house. When they got there Mr. Shelly (‘‘Pepper’’) was there. Garda Reynolds allowed Garda Cunniffe, a probationer garda, to take over at that stage and he returned to Superintendent Byrne. She identified herself to Marie Carthy and said in evidence that she had no real conversation with her. Garda Cunniffe said that she had been at the Mahon house since 8:30 a.m. and that at 10:30 a.m. Marie Carthy arrived escorted by Garda Reynolds and Garda Carthy. The evidence would seem to indicate that Garda Cunniffe was not made aware by anyone of Superintendent Byrne’s instruction to Garda Reynolds. Garda Cunniffe left the Mahon house at about 11:00 a.m. and went off duty.
Detective Sergeant Jackson resumes duty
At approximately 8:30 a.m. Detective Sergeant Jackson returned to the negotiation point. On his return he noted that John Carthy was alert and aggressive.
At approximately 8:00 a.m., Detective Sergeant Russell observed the subject banging the barrel of the shotgun against the vertical wooden bars of the kitchen window. Sergeant Russell said that during the course of the following two hours more of the window was broken out. He expressed concern to Superintendent Shelly that the subject might attempt to emerge through the window.
Detective Sergeant Jackson contacts Colm Regan
At approximately 8:30 a.m. Sergeant Jackson contacted Mr. Colm Regan, a clinical psychologist attached to the Prison Section of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. He had already attempted to contact Mr. Regan on his way to Abbeylara on the previous night. The purpose of the consultation was for Sergeant Jackson to obtain professional advice about dealing with depressive people such as John Carthy. The negotiator saw Mr. Regan’s role as a dual one of assessing the subject’s behaviour in the stronghold and also advising on negotiation strategy, which could include the performance of the negotiator. It was on that basis that he contacted Mr. Regan.
The role of the psychologist and of psychiatric or psychological support is set out and analysed in Chapter 6.
Detective Sergeant Jackson resumes the negotiation effort
Shortly after contacting Mr. Regan, Sergeant Jackson resumed efforts to negotiate with John Carthy. He attempted to reassure him that he had a lot to look forward to in his life; that he was a respected worker and had friends who cared about him. The best thing for the future was to come out. He told him what he had done yesterday was an angry reaction and that he, Sergeant Jackson, understood this but that the
main thing was that no one was hurt. The subject, he said, reacted to this by holding out his chest and saying ‘‘come on shoot me, come on’’. Sergeant Jackson then said to him: ‘‘John, we don’t want to shoot you. Are you thinking of hurting yourself? Are you thinking about suicide?’’ Sergeant Jackson said that he told John Carthy:
‘‘Think about what will happen if you are dead. Think about your family and friends and how they will feel. Think about Marie, your mother and ‘‘Pepper’’. Think about how they would feel if you got hurt or you hurt yourself. Think about how badly they are feeling at the moment because of what you are doing’’.
Sergeant Jackson received no reply. He continued:
‘‘Think about how good you would make them feel if you put the gun down and talk. If you won’t come out for yourself John, then come out for them. Come on John, come on out’’.
John Carthy reacted to this by putting his head in his hands; he looked confused and anxious. Sergeant Jackson told the Tribunal that he put his hand over the wall and asked the subject to come out, saying to him that he would meet him in the garden if he left the gun down. he reacted to this by saying ‘‘No, No’’. Sergeant Jackson then went on to discuss the subject’s sister Marie, his mother and his friends in the context of his coming out of the house. He received no reply to any of these efforts.
Superintendent Shelly resumes duty
Superintendent Shelly returned to duty at approximately 8:20 a.m. He met with Superintendent Byrne, Sergeant Russell and Sergeant Jackson. Superintendent Byrne went through the log which he had maintained throughout the course of the night. Superintendent Shelly was informed of the request for cigarettes, the cutting of the television cable and the visit of Mr. Shelly and Ms Carthy to the scene. He was informed that Mr. Shelly had spoken to John Carthy and that there was no response. He was told that the television cable had been severed because it was felt by the negotiator that John Carthy might hear or see media reports on television which might distract or possibly upset him. This was not something that he had discussed before going off duty. He was also informed by Sergeant Russell that covert entry was considered too dangerous and had been ruled out at that time.
He was also informed that Sergeant Jackson had made a request at approximately 3:15 a.m. that information be obtained from Dr. Cullen as to the effect that his medication might be having on John Carthy. He was told that Garda Campbell had gone to Dr. Cullen to obtain that information and that the doctor had supplied a number of reports which were brought back to the negotiator. Superintendent Shelly did not see these reports at any stage during the course of the day. He did not inquire into the contents of the reports or the authors thereof. He knew that these reports were then with Sergeant Jackson. It was at this time that he first became aware of the fact that John Carthy’s psychiatrist was Dr. Shanley.
Superintendent Shelly stated that when he had received this information he concluded that little progress had been made in the negotiations.
Assistant Commissioner Hickey arrives at the scene and is briefed on the night’s events
Shortly before 9:00 a.m. Assistant Commissioner Hickey arrived at the scene. He had been in contact with Chief Superintendent Tansey from 8:00 a.m. as he travelled to Abbeylara. On his arrival he spoke to the scene commanders. He was given a detailed account of what had happened during that time and he learned about the request for a solicitor and for cigarettes. He discussed questions of safety and particularly the location of the negotiation post.
Superintendent Byrne informs Assistant Commissioner Hickey of the request for cigarettes
Although Superintendent Byrne officially went off duty as scene commander at 9:00 a.m., he remained at the scene until approximately 1:30 p.m. He spoke with Inspector Maguire and Assistant Commissioner Hickey between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. He informed Assistant Commissioner Hickey of John Carthy’s request for cigarettes. He explained it in what he described as positive tones and stated to Assistant Commissioner Hickey that they were hopeful that they could develop it. Assistant Commissioner Hickey asked him ‘‘why didn’t you throw them into him?’’ to which Superintendent Byrne replied that he‘‘ felt we could use the cigarettes andI discussed it with Sergeant Jackson, as a vehicle to get a rapport with John, andI felt it would be a waste of that opportunity if we didn’t do that.’’ Superintendent Byrne recounted to Assistant Commissioner Hickey that Sergeant Jackson was trying to interact with John Carthy in relation to the cigarettes and that if they were delivered without arrangement that he might regard it as an intrusion: ‘‘that the gardaı´ had been snooping around his house and encroaching on his space’’.
Assistant Commissioner Hickey told the Tribunal that he discussed the question of the delivery of cigarettes with Sergeant Russell, Sergeant Jackson and Superintendent Byrne. His initial view was that it was ‘‘a pity’’ that Sergeant Russell had not delivered cigarettes at the time of his reconnaissance of the house but, he said, having listened to Superintendent Byrne he could see why they were not delivered during the night. Superintendent Byrne also believed that during the reconnaissance Sergeant Russell had ‘‘probably gone a bit further than he had wished him to’’. However, Assistant Commissioner Hickey was of the view that this was not a ‘‘big issue’’ for Superintendent Byrne.
Assistant Commissioner Hickey said that his impression from Sergeant Jackson, when he discussed this issue with him on his arrival at the scene in the morning of 20th April was that for Sergeant Jackson ‘‘bargaining with the gun’’ was not the main issue. Assistant Commissioner Hickey went on to say ‘‘that, of course would be ideal, but it was to get John Carthy to focus on some issue and to try and engage with him’’.
Assistant Commissioner Hickey stressed that Sergeant Jackson emphasised to him that his (Sergeant Jackson’s) objective was to try to engage John Carthy. Assistant Commissioner Hickey told the Tribunal that:
‘‘For instance... if he threw out a cartridge, that would be a step in the right direction. If he broke the gun, but that in the early stages, that was still down the road. It was to try and engage with him and, as has been said, I didn’t particularly ask Detective Sergeant Jackson why he didn’t throw a packet of cigarettes at the window. I would have thought, and indeed it crossed my mind, that if cigarettes were left outside the window at any stage, that would disimprove the situation, because, as it was, John Carthy was being contained in the house. I didn’t think that we should do anything to encourage him to come out in that respect. For instance, if he came out with the gun, the situation would have disimproved.’’
Superintendent Shelly stated in evidence that he discussed the ongoing situation, the overnight events and the plan which had been developed, with the Assistant Commissioner.
Further shots are discharged
At 9:06 a.m. and again at 9:42 a.m. further shots were discharged. They were directed towards the front boundary wall.
Shortly before the first shot, John Carthy broke glass from the frames in the window. Sergeant Jackson went to the command post and discussed the events that had occurred since 8:00 a.m. with Superintendent Byrne and Superintendent Shelly and recommended that the strategy that had been originally set in place be continued. As part of this strategy Sergeant Jackson recommended that he would continue to try to engage with the subject and to attempt to develop the issue of the solicitor and the cigarettes. Sergeant Jackson also discussed his own position vis-a`-vis the length of time he had been on duty. The negotiator then returned to the negotiation post and tried to engage John Carthy in conversation. He was at the window with the gun in his hand which he levelled, forcing Sergeant Jackson to duck down. A shot was then discharged with some of the pellets hitting the pillar at the negotiation point. Sergeant Jackson telephoned the subject who answered the phone but did not speak. Sergeant Jackson then spoke to him on the loudhailer and asked him to stop shooting. He told the Tribunal that John Carthy’s response was to level the gun again, forcing Sergeant Jackson to once more duck down behind the wall.
Superintendent Shelly’s actions and observations in relation to the request for cigarettes
When Superintendent Shelly was informed of John Carthy’s request for cigarettes, he stated, ‘‘I discussed that with Detective Sergeant Russell andI was anxious that the cigarettes would be delivered to John Carthy.’’ However, he stated that a plan had to be devised, a safe plan, or method to ensure that the cigarettes could be delivered in safety. Superintendent Shelly was not on duty at the time the request for cigarettes
was made but he understood that the negotiator had not reached a stage where the safe delivery of the cigarettes could have been achieved and he agreed with the approach adopted by Superintendent Byrne at the time.
Cigarettes are obtained
In anticipation of delivery, Superintendent Shelly told the Tribunal that at 10:00 a.m. he arranged for Garda Michael Carthy to go to the village to purchase cigarettes. He had been informed that John Carthy had looked for ‘‘Major’’ cigarettes. He asked Garda Carthy to purchase 60 cigarettes and some matches. Garda Carthy returned some time later and informed him that the local shopkeeper, who knew John Carthy, had stated that ‘‘Benson & Hedges’’ was his brand and he was given 60 ‘‘Benson & Hedges’’. The local shopkeeper, Mr. Farrell, did not charge for the cigarettes.
Second request for cigarettes
At approximately 10:00 a.m. John Carthy again asked Sergeant Jackson for cigarettes. This request and the Garda response to it are set out and analysed in Chapter 6. The request was as a result of an inquiry by Sergeant Jackson as follows ‘‘you mentioned cigarettes the night before, we want to get you the cigarettes’’ and ‘‘is there anything else or is there anybody else we can get for you?’’ John Carthy’s reply to this was ‘‘fags’’. Sergeant Jackson said to him that he wanted to get him the cigarettes but was worried about the gun that he was firing and went on to say ‘‘can we agree a safe way of getting them into you?’’ He explained to John Carthy the exact method that delivery would entail and what he was to do about putting the gun on the floor. Sergeant Jackson received no reply to this. Garda Sullivan relayed that information to the scene commander. This request was not recorded in Garda Sullivan’s log. Sometime later Garda Sullivan collected the cigarettes at the command post and brought them to the negotiation point. When the cigarettes were brought there Sergeant Jackson physically showed them across the wall.
The negotiator had, Superintendent Shelly said, done everything in his power to try and create a situation where the cigarettes could be delivered: ‘‘we had them on site and we wanted to give him the cigarettes. It was a question of trying to negotiate with him to get a safe method of delivery’’. Superintendent Shelly confirmed, however, on more than one occasion, that the gun would have to be out of commission, otherwise the danger involved would be far too great.
Inspector Maguire returns to the scene and makes contact with Dr. Shanley
Inspector Maguire resumed duty at about 8:30 a.m. He observed what he described as a change of atmosphere at approximately 9:00 a.m. He was standing in the middle of the road opposite Burke’s. He heard glass breaking and heard banging noises from within the house ‘‘as if somebody was banging furniture’’ with what he presumed to be the butt of the gun. Following this a decision was taken by Superintendent Shelly to have an ambulance called and for Dr. Cullen to be contacted and brought back
to the scene. Inspector Maguire spoke to Assistant Commissioner Hickey who requested him to make contact with Dr. Shanley to see if he could give an opinion as to John Carthy’s likely frame of mind. He telephoned St. Patrick’s hospital in Dublin and was put through to the psychiatrist’s secretary. He learned that John Carthy had an appointment at 2:00 p.m. with Dr. Shanley on that day. Inspector Maguire asked the secretary to request Dr. Shanley to contact him. He subsequently relayed this information to Superintendent Shelly and to Assistant Commissioner Hickey.
At approximately 10:00 a.m., Inspector Maguire received a telephone call from Dr. Shanley who informed him that John Carthy was a manic-depressive and he told him that he could be either elated or low and either manifestation of the illness could account for his aggression. Dr. Shanley also informed him that he was unable to give an opinion as he had not seen John Carthy for some time. Dr. Shanley enquired as to whether the subject had been taking his medication. Inspector Maguire replied that he did not know. The doctor informed Inspector Maguire that an appointment had been made for him to see John Carthy by a member of his family for later that day. The inspector further learned that the subject did not like St. Loman’s hospital and that he should be advised that Dr. Shanley would get him into St. Patrick’s hospital for in-patient treatment. This information was relayed by Inspector Maguire to Superintendent Shelly. He further advised the inspector that he was going to the west of Ireland and agreed that he could contact him at 3:30 p.m. when he was on the road and that he, Dr. Shanley, would make himself available at the scene.
Assistant Commissioner Hickey reviews the gun restoration file at Granard garda station
At approximately 10:00 a.m. Superintendent Byrne attended Granard garda station with Assistant Commissioner Hickey who was anxious to read the file in relation to the firearm. Superintendent Byrne had become aware of the issue concerning the return to John Carthy of his gun in 1998 ‘‘fairly early after arriving at the scene.’’ While he assumed that there should be a file about that in Granard garda station, he had not sought it out before his visit to the station with the Assistant Commissioner. Superintendent Byrne stated that they did not find anything on the file which was considered to be of assistance at that time. It should be noted, however, that this file contained the letter of support from Dr. Shanley thereby revealing his name to the reader.
Marie Carthy visits her mother
Between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. Marie Carthy and Martin Shelly visited Mrs. Carthy at Mrs. Patricia Mahon’s house on the Coole Road. During this time Ms Carthy spoke briefly with Garda Cunniffe, and exchanged pleasantries with her. Ms Carthy and Mr. Shelly remained there for several hours until just after lunchtime. They then returned to Devine’s house in the afternoon.
Thomas Walsh returns to the scene and attempts further contact
Superintendent Shelly became aware that Thomas Walsh had come back to the scene and that Assistant Commissioner Hickey had spoken to him. It was suggested (probably by Superintendent Shelly) that, if he was willing, he might talk to his cousin again. Thomas Walsh was agreeable and arrangements were put in place with the ERU. The request did not emanate from John Carthy. The senior officers observed Thomas Walsh being brought down to the negotiation position, protected by a ballistic shield.
Thomas Walsh’s evidence
In his evidence, Thomas Walsh said that he returned to the scene and asked if he could attempt to speak to John Carthy once more. Garda Sullivan escorted him to the negotiation point using a ballistic shield. Mr. Walsh then met Sergeant Jackson for the first time and was informed by him that John Carthy was not engaging in dialogue but was firing shots. He asked Mr. Walsh to try and convince his cousin that the picture ‘‘wasn’t all black looking’’. The witness stated that Sergeant Jackson also asked him to try to get John Carthy to put down the gun or throw it out. He asked the negotiator if cigarettes could be given to him and was told that they could be but that there was no safe means of delivery. Mr. Walsh said that he informed Sergeant Jackson that the subject was a heavy smoker and that he would become more agitated if he did not have any cigarettes. The witness stated that he did not recall Sergeant Jackson telling him that the subject had asked for cigarettes.He was told by the negotiator that ‘‘it was a negotiation practice to look for a few cigarettes in return to build rapport.’’ Mr. Walsh stated that he told him that John Carthy would not throw out cartridges in return for cigarettes, ‘‘or words to that effect’’.
Sergeant Jackson however denied that there was any conversation with Mr. Walsh in relation to cigarettes at any stage during the incident; nor did he discuss negotiation practice. Inspector Maguire did not recall any conversation with Thomas Walsh during the course of the morning concerning the benefits of delivering cigarettes to John Carthy. Specifically, Inspector Maguire refuted the suggestion that he told Mr. Walsh that ‘‘no, he’s acting the bollocks, he’s not getting his own way now’’.
Mr. Walsh told the Tribunal that before he tried to engage with the subject again he questioned Sergeant Jackson about ‘‘resting’’ John Carthy and ‘‘using the same dialogue over and over again’’, which he thought would just aggravate him more. He also stated that Sergeant Jackson explained to him that it was a technique that eventually gets through to people in this sort of situation.
Mr. Walsh attempted to communicate with his cousin with the aid of a loudhailer. He informed the subject that he was trying to get through to him on the landline but that he, John Carthy, kept picking up the landline phone and dropping it again. He stated that he had been given a mobile phone and continually tried to redial the landline. Thomas Walsh stated that he could hear music coming from the house through the phone. He spoke to John Carthy on the loudhailer and told him that things were not as bad as they seemed:
‘‘I started telling him about an uncle of mine and his grandfather, all of whom were tough men but who would have known when to give up, that he had won and that he should throw out the gun’’.
He stated that he then had a brief discussion with Sergeant Jackson regarding the fact that he did not ‘‘sound like himself’’ when he was using the loud hailer. It was agreed, he stated, that he should put his head up over the wall and ask his cousin to come to the window and that he would tell him that he did not like him holding the gun. John Carthy then came to the window holding the gun across his waist, between his chest and his stomach. Mr. Walsh stated that he was shocked by his appearance:
‘‘I was shocked when I saw him. His eyes looked very black to me and his skin looked very yellow. His mouth looked very tight and his cheeks looked pulled in. He did not look to me like the John Carthy that I knew.’’
Thomas Walsh told his cousin that because of the fact that he had previously been admitted to St. Loman’s psychiatric hospital that he would not be held accountable for this incident and that he was intelligent enough to know that. He tried to say things that would encourage his cousin to put the gun down and come out of the house. Mr. Walsh then described him ‘‘clicking his head backwards’’ in a dismissive manner.
The detective sergeants observed John Carthy levelling his weapon at Mr. Walsh and they pulled him down behind the wall. Mr. Walsh was, at this stage, emotional and upset. He did not see his cousin levelling or pointing the gun at him but recalled hearing Sergeant Jackson chiding the subject, saying that ‘‘Tom is only down here to help. Freezing his balls off and levelling the gun isn’t helping the situation’’. This was denied by Sergeant Jackson. He said that he did not use this expression.
Mr. Walsh also said that he told Sergeant Jackson that John Carthy might shoot at the loudhailer.
He sat with the negotiator for a few minutes and suggested to him that Sean Farrell would be a good person to speak with Mr. Carthy and that he was someone he respected and looked up to. He agreed that Mr. Farrell should be contacted but said that there had been enough dialogue ‘‘for now’’. Mr. Walsh then returned to the brow of the hill near his own home. He stated that he spoke with Superintendent Shelly and suggested that John Carthy be left alone for a little while and that the gardaı´ ‘‘bobbing their heads up and down was not helping the situation’’. He explained that he did not wish to see the gardaı´ withdrawing completely but wished that they would not be visible. He stated in evidence that he told Superintendent Shelly that ‘‘if John had time and rest to think things through, that it might calm the situation.’’ In his evidence, Superintendent Shelly denied that this was said to him.
Detective Sergeant Jackson’s evidence
At 9:42 a.m. John Carthy fired a further shot at the negotiation post from the gable window. Garda Sullivan told Sergeant Jackson that Thomas Walsh was at the
command post and was willing to speak to John Carthy. The negotiator agreed to this. Garda Sullivan spoke to Mr. Walsh at the command post. He gave him a brief outline of the subject’s behaviour and the approach that he, Mr. Walsh, should take to reassure him. Sergeant Jackson asked John Carthy whether he was willing to speak to his cousin. At first he received no reply but eventually John Carthy ‘‘mumbled’’ agreement. Mr. Walsh was then brought down to the negotiation point where he spoke to Sergeant Jackson who ‘‘introduced him’’ to his cousin.
Using the loudhailer, Thomas Walsh asked John Carthy to answer his telephone. There was no reply. He began to speak to him through the loudhailer. He spoke of his cousin’s uncles and grandfather, saying they were all tough men but that they knew when to give up; and that he had won. He told him he had not hurt anybody and asked him to answer the phone. John Carthy came to the window and Thomas Walsh asked him to put the gun down. Mr. Walsh told the Tribunal that he tried to engage the subject and told him that he and the family were very worried about him and that they did not want anything bad to happen. He reassured him that if he came out he was not going to be hurt and that if he wished he, Mr. Walsh, would meet him outside; in case he did not trust the gardaı´. He told him that he knew that he may be worried about what happened but that matters were not that bad, no one had been hurt. He spoke about Sean Farrell, and said he was a tough man but would know when to put the gun down and come out. Sergeant Jackson also recounted hearing Thomas Walsh saying that John Carthy could trust him; that he could receive treatment from his own doctor and that they would be ‘‘having a pint and a fag and laughing at this in a few weeks’’. He also heard Mr. Walsh saying that if John Carthy came out he would not be hurt and if anybody tried to do so that they would have to hurt him, Mr. Walsh, also. At this stage Sergeant Jackson observed John Carthy levelling the gun at Mr. Walsh forcing him to take cover behind the wall and causing him to become distressed. Garda Sullivan then escorted Mr. Walsh back to the command post.
Detective Sergeant Russell’s observations
According to Sergeant Russell, events took a serious turn at that time. Up to that point, John Carthy had only pointed and fired a weapon at or in the direction of the gardaı´. This time he had pointed the weapon at a person who Sergeant Russell knew to be a friend or a relation and therefore ‘‘I knew we were in a very difficult position then’’.
John Carthy’s weapon was not discharged at that time.
Request for an ambulance
After John Carthy fired the shot timed at 9:42 a.m., Superintendent Shelly was told by the officers near the negotiation point that they thought that the subject was ‘‘particularly agitated’’ at that stage. This caused him to request that an ambulance be brought to the scene. This was done and the ambulance remained on standby at Granard garda station.
Further inquiries of Thomas Walsh
At approximately 11:00 a.m. Superintendent Shelly, Assistant Commissioner Hickey and two other members of the Garda Sı´ocha´na approached Thomas Walsh. They inquired as to whether he was aware of how many cartridges John Carthy had. Mr. Walsh suggested that they telephone the local gun shops that sold ammunition to see if his cousin had purchased any recently. If he had not then, he stated, he would probably only have one or two boxes of cartridges. Mr. Walsh also stated that he had a general discussion with Assistant Commissioner Hickey in relation to what may have triggered the incident. He did not remember the conversation in detail but accepted Assistant Commissioner Hickey’s recollection in this regard. Assistant Commissioner Hickey and Superintendent Byrne spoke to Mr. Walsh and were told by him that John Carthy had been accused in the wrong of burning the goat mascot; that he had been slagged about it and that what really annoyed him was that the people who slagged him knew that he did not do it and they also knew who actually did. Also, Mr. Walsh told Assistant Commissioner Hickey and Superintendent Byrne that his cousin had lost his job in Galway and had ‘‘gone on the tear’’. Assistant Commissioner Hickey was also told by Mr. Walsh that John Carthy’s father and grandfather had died on a Holy Thursday. Mr. Walsh also believed that he told him about the break-up of his cousin’s relationship.
Subsequently, Assistant Commissioner Hickey was informed by local members about the fact that the subject had been arrested in connection with the goat incident and he believed that John Carthy was claiming that he had been arrested in the wrong.
Dr. Cu llen to the scene after 11:00 a.m.
Dr. Cullen told the Tribunal that at approximately 11:00 a.m. on 20th April he received a further call from the gardaı´ in Granard, requesting him to attend the scene. He did not know particularly why his attendance was required, save that they ‘‘thought John might be coming out’’. He went to the scene where he waited for 15 minutes. He spoke to some gardaı´ who he could not identify. He thought that things were going to develop, and that his patient was ‘‘going to come out.’’ He was then informed that he was not required and he was free to leave. No one sought specific advice or assistance from him and he then left the scene. He thought that he might be contacted again ‘‘given the ongoing situation’’. While at the scene he believed that he was informed that Dr. Shanley would be attending in the afternoon.
Superintendent Shelly confirmed that the purpose of requesting Dr. Cullen to attend the scene was to assist in the event of someone being injured rather than to seek advice in relation to dealing with the subject. As far as he recalled, he brought Dr. Cullen up to date and informed him that they were finding the negotiation slow and difficult, and that they weren’t making much progress. ‘‘Dr. Cullen told me that he would be available all day if we needed him, which I accepted and appreciated and I let him go from the scene’’. This was the last time that Dr. Cullen was at the scene before the siege ended.
Attempts at negotiations from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
During this period there was a greater level of communication and response than there had been previously. This communication is now recounted.
John Carthy is informed of Dr. Shanley’s offer of a place in St. Patrick’s hospital
Sergeant Jackson continued to speak to the subject by way of the loudhailer and asked him (and repeated) whether he was worried about what would happen when he came out. John Carthy said, ‘‘I will have to go back to the hospital’’. Sergeant Jackson thought this to be a significant development in that it was the first time the subject had told him about his fears of the hospital. Sergeant Jackson then told him that ‘‘Dr. Shanley was willing to come and help and if he had to go to hospital, if that was a possibility, certainly we may be able to arrange St. Patrick’s.’’ John Carthy’s reaction to this, he said, was to smirk or grimace. Sergeant Jackson then told John Carthy that this showed that everyone was willing to help him when he came out. He continued:
‘‘John the right decision and the best way out for you is not to hurt yourself or anyone else but to put the gun down and come out, the right decision now makes up for all the bad things that happened yesterday and all the bad things that happened in your life. The right decision now is what is important, it can change everything. Come on John, come out. It’s the right thing to do. It’s the best way out’’.
John Carthy did not reply to this but put his head in his hands as if he was contemplating and thinking about what had been said. Sergeant Jackson then said:
‘‘John everyone out here is on your side, your family, friends and me. Come on out and I’ll meet you half way. Come on John it’s the right thing to do; it’s the only thing to do.’’
He stated that at this stage, the subject had an anguished look and put his head in his hands. The subject then suddenly broke from that expression and with what Sergeant Jackson described as an aggressive look shouted ‘‘you won’t break me’’, following which he levelled the gun forcing him to duck behind the wall.
Sergeant Jackson then said: ‘‘John I’m not trying to break you. I just want you to come out safely, come on, don’t worry about yesterday. Come on out and we can work this out together.’’
John Carthy is shown the cigarettes
The negotiator told the Tribunal that he then showed the cigarettes over the wall to John Carthy and told him that he wanted to give him cigarettes but that it was essential that a safe way to deliver them be agreed, because he was worried about the gun and the fact that the weapon was being fired. The reply to this, he said, was ‘‘bring them into me, come on’’ and the subject beckoned to him. He stated in
evidence that he believed that this was said in a ‘‘sarcastic tone’’. Sergeant Jackson reiterated that he wanted to give him the cigarettes but was worried about the gun that he was firing and sought to agree a safe way of getting the cigarettes to him. He also asked the subject to suggest a safe way of getting them to him. His reply to both these issues was, he said, ‘‘Fuck off and don’t bother’’. Sergeant Jackson then told him that all he wanted was for him to come out without the gun and the reply he received to this was ‘‘Why?’’ This was then followed by Sergeant Jackson saying, ‘‘because I want you and everyone else to be safe’’ to which he received the response ‘‘Why?’’ Sergeant Jackson stated that he then said, ‘‘because your family, friends and everybody, including myself care about you and want you to come out’’. The response to this was again ‘‘Why?’’ He replied ‘‘I know you are doing this because you are angry and not because you are a bad guy’’. And again the reply to this was ‘‘Why?’’, in what Sergeant Jackson described as an ‘‘agitated manner’’. He then telephoned John Carthy twice. The call was answered and the subject said ‘‘fuck off’’, and hung up.
Offer of other persons to talk to John Carthy
Sergeant Jackson stated that at 11:18 a.m. he said to the subject that while he did not seem to trust him (Sergeant Jackson), the gardaı´ could get anyone he wanted, ‘‘a solicitor, a priest, his family, friends, Dr. Shanley or anybody else’’. The reply he received to this was ‘‘No, there is nobody. I am not coming out. No way; you come in and get me’’ followed by ‘‘shoot me, come on’’.
The issue of suicide is raised
Sergeant Jackson told the Tribunal that at this point he said:
‘‘John, we don’t want to shoot you, we want to help you. John, are you thinking of hurting yourself, are you thinking of suicide? John, think about what will happen if you are dead, that is not the best way out. The best way out is to put the gun down and come on out and we can talk. The right thing to do is to leave the gun in the house and come on out. Come on out, John, please.’’
Again, there was no reply. At this point, Sergeant Jackson held out his left hand and beckoned John Carthy out saying ‘‘Come on out, John. This is the right thing to do. I know it’s the right thing to do andI think you know it too.’’ The reply that he received to that was ‘‘No, it’s not the right thing to do’’ — and with the shotgun held in his left hand around the barrel and his right forefinger pointing at the trigger area said — ‘‘this is the right thing to do’’. Sergeant Jackson said, ‘‘No, it is not the right thing to do... it only hurts people, doing something like that. The right thing to do is to leave the gun behind you and come out. That is the important thing.’’ He received no reply to this but continued addressing John Carthy as follows:
‘‘it doesn’t matter how all this started; what is important is that you leave the gun behind you and come out to meet me. Come on, John, I’ll meet you halfway if you meet me halfway. Come on, John, just you and me. The right decision here changes everything’’.
There was, he stated, no reply. He told John Carthy that ‘‘everyone out here — your mother, Marie, Pepper, Tom and all your friends — that’s what they want you to do, so come on out and leave that gun behind.’’ His reply to this was ‘‘no way’’. The subject then levelled the gun at Sergeant Jackson forcing him to duck behind the wall.
Cigarettes issue raised once more; and further offers to bring other persons to the scene to speak with the subject
The negotiator again raised the question of the cigarettes and said that he wanted to get them in to him, but that it was essential that they agreed a safe way of doing this. The reply received was ‘‘No way, bring them in here’’ and he beckoned with his hand. Sergeant Jackson replied that he wanted him to have the cigarettes but that they would have to talk about how they were going to be got in to him. The reply to this was ‘‘fuck off’’. Sergeant Jackson stated that he once more emphasised his willingness to get a solicitor, priest, family or friends, or anyone John Carthy trusted, to come down to the scene and to be there when he came out. There was no response to this. He stated that he told the subject that his mother was very worried about him and that she cared for him a lot. John Carthy laughed at this and said ‘‘you haven’t lived with her for ten fucking years’’. Sergeant Jackson then said to him that while it may seem to him that people did not care, they did, and that while it may seem a very bad situation for him there was a way out. He received no reply. He told the Tribunal that he continued as follows:
‘‘think about this, John; think about everyone out here wanting you to put the gun down and come out. Think about how you are going to do this. Think about putting that gun on the floor, walking out of the room, opening the front door and coming out to meet me; please think about it’’.
Once again he stated that he received no reply. The witness gave evidence of repeated further attempts to open dialogue without success.
The issue of the solicitor is addressed
Sergeant Jackson stated that between 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. he continued to attempt to obtain details from John Carthy about his solicitor, his identity and how he might be contacted. In his evidence Sergeant Russell stated that shortly after midday while at the negotiation point he heard John Carthy asking ‘‘where’s my solicitor?’’ The former stated that the subject was immediately asked if he wanted any particular one but declined to name any. He was assured that a solicitor would be got for him and brought to the scene but, he said, John Carthy stated that he wanted one in the house with him. Sergeant Jackson, he said, explained to him that it wasn’t possible to allow a solicitor into the house when he had a gun available to him; and that he, Sergeant Jackson, also told the subject that he was willing to bring the solicitor to the negotiation point to which John Carthy replied: ‘‘fuck off. Don’t bother’’.
Media to the scene at 11:00 a.m.
While the negotiation effort was continuing, Superintendent Shelly became aware from speaking to Superintendent Farrelly that there was significant media interest in the incident. He believed that at that time John Carthy had access to the radio but not to television. He did not at any stage hear the radio playing although there is evidence from other officers that they heard music and radio news reports. Superintendent Farrelly received authorisation from Superintendent Shelly to bring members of the media closer to the scene. This followed a discussion Superintendent Farrelly had with Mr. Paul Reynolds, the RTE´ Crime Correspondent. Mr. Reynolds stated that he believed that it was possible that in the absence of an organised photo shoot near the scene, members of the media who wished to get closer might attempt to get their own shots, even to the point of hiring a helicopter. Mr. Reynolds accepted that he informed Superintendent Farrelly ‘‘that it was not beyond the bounds of possibility that some newspaper or television station might hire a helicopter to fly over the scene to take a picture’’. Superintendent Farrelly did not query Mr. Reynolds as to where the information concerning the helicopter might have come from. He observed:
‘‘I don’t think he was saying it from information that he had in relation to particular information that somebody was going to hire it. He was putting it across as a proposition that perhaps somebody may consider getting a helicopter... The helicopter was an issue that he raised, butI would be aware of that anyway.’’
Superintendent Farrelly accepted that he did not have knowledge upon which to base a belief that a helicopter had in fact been hired or might go to the scene. He had never been involved in any previous incident in this country where members of the media had hired a helicopter to go to a scene, though this had happened in other countries. He confirmed that in this jurisdiction the gardaı´ are not empowered to enforce a no-fly zone. Superintendent Farrelly agreed that the information concerning the helicopter was conveyed to the people at the scene. He accepted that the issue of the helicopter may have formed part of the consideration leading to a decision to permit the media being brought to the scene. He accepted that in the context of a live operation, as at Abbeylara, bringing the media to the scene and filming members of the ERU was unique in the context of an armed operation.
Members of the media are brought closer to the house
Superintendent Farrelly stated that after obtaining permission from Superintendent Shelly to bring members of the media to the scene, he returned to the village where he gathered around him the media personnel who were then present. He estimated that there were 25 present, including cameramen, photographers, radio journalists, and print journalists. He knew most of them by name. He arranged for five cars, including his own, to be made available for transportation to the scene area. Superintendent Farrelly led the media, in convoy, to a point short of the command vehicle. They could not see the Carthy house from that point. Superintendent Farrelly briefed them and told them that he would bring them down in relays to take camera shots of the scene. The area in which Superintendent Shelly had given permission to
take the shots was on the left-hand side of the road, as one travels towards the Carthy house. This point was close to the ditch approximately three or four feet onto the roadway itself. This was, Superintendent Farrelly stated, the safest proximate point for taking pictures. Photo shots had to be taken at an angle. He brought camera crews first, followed by photographers and then journalists. He permitted each group to remain at the location for approximately three minutes then called them back and brought the next group forward. In total, he stated, that the media remained there for approximately 25 minutes. They then returned in convoy to the village. Superintendent Farrelly confirmed that this was the only time that the media were allowed access to the vicinity of the house during the course of the incident.
Safety plan, should John Carthy emerge when the media were present
Superintendent Farrelly stated that he was unaware of a plan or tactic should the subject have emerged from the house at that time. He had no discussion with the scene commander in that regard. He had no concerns about his own safety or the safety of the media. He did not, he stated, give consideration as to what might have occurred if John Carthy emerged from the house at that time or, as to where the media would go in that event.
Detective Sergeant Russell’s observations
Sergeant Russell stated that he was ‘‘consulted’’ in relation to the media being brought to the scene. Superintendent Shelly informed him that he was concerned that members of the media might go into the field and inquired whether it was possible to permit them to be brought closer to the scene in a controlled fashion. Sergeant Russell ‘‘certainly wasn’t happy about that’’, but he was informed by Superintendent Shelly that there was concern that members of the media may be about to try to attempt to get closer to the scene, or that they may do something inadvertently which may cause difficulty for the Garda operation. Sergeant Russell stated: ‘‘I wouldn’t have been happy being photographed trying to do a particular thing like this at that time. I wasn’t entirely happy about it; that is being perfectly honest’’.
He was also concerned that it might upset his members as they had, he said, a difficult task and he was concerned that the media presence might take from the members’ focus or that they might get unnerved by it. Nevertheless, he told the Tribunal that he had to weigh such concerns against the interests of all. In the circumstances he felt that it was correct to agree to them being allowed closer. While he could recollect the ERU being filmed on such duties in the past he had no recollection of this being done where there was a threat. He could not recall any reference to a helicopter at that time but heard it afterwards. His immediate concern, he stated, was people in the field and possible crossfire and that if a journalist came up to a hedge he or she may not have been aware of the direction of John Carthy’s fire. He had, he said, enough to deal with on the inner cordon at that time. However, Superintendent Shelly had made a good case for bringing the media down and he was happy that it was being made in the interest of everyone’s safety. To that end,
he felt that the reasons for bringing them outweighed his particular concerns. He was advised in advance by Superintendent Shelly as to when they were coming into the area. He did not pay particular attention to the members of the media when they were present but he was aware that they were on the roadway near the command vehicle. While John Carthy was visible to the ERU, Sergeant Russell believed that it would have been impossible for him to see the cameramen or the cameras.
A public relations exercise?
Superintendent Farrelly believed that bringing the media down in a controlled fashion would also help to ensure that they continued to exercise restraint. He disagreed with a suggestion made by counsel for the family when examining Superintendent Shelly that the filming of members of the ERU might place the gardaı´ in a positive light. In his evidence Superintendent Shelly stated that promoting a positive view of the gardaı´ had not been an issue and that media access was permitted to ‘‘facilitate them and to ensure in so doing that no media person would act in an unsafe manner in or around the scene.’’ Superintendent Farrelly also denied that there was any such attempt to paint a positive picture of the gardaı´, or that it was good public relations.
He accepted, however, that a situation might arise that it might be construed as such.
Ann Walsh speaks to Superintendent Farrelly
At approximately 12:00 p.m., Ms Ann Walsh went to the garda checkpoint at the church where she spoke to a uniformed garda. She asked to speak to someone in charge and to be brought up to date on what had occurred. The uniformed garda informed Superintendent Farrelly of this. Ms Walsh was in a car in the vicinity of the checkpoint and stated that the area was ‘‘full of press’’. She said that Superintendent Farrelly told her that the situation had got more serious.
Ms Walsh stated that the media coverage was very bad for her cousin’s situation and requested Superintendent Farrelly to ‘‘call a media blackout’’. He informed her that they could not do so and that it was better to feed the media a little information. This would help to keep them more at bay. She stated that she asked him ‘‘about John getting the cigarettes’’, and he informed her that they were ‘‘working on that’’. He informed her that the television cable had been cut by the gardaı´ and that her cousin had no television at that stage. He told her that the subject had requested cigarettes. She thought that she ‘‘would have said’’ that cigarettes would have been a help and that they would have a calming effect on him. According to her, John Carthy was a chain smoker. There was, she stated, no reference by Superintendent Farrelly to a request for a solicitor. Superintendent Farrelly was the only senior officer that she met at that stage. It is to be noted that Superintendent Farrelly was himself unaware of the request for a solicitor at that time.
SECTION G — John Carthy makes Contact with Kevin Ireland John Carthy’s telephone call to Kevin Ireland
John Carthy telephoned Mr. Kevin Ireland, a friend and former workmate, on his mobile telephone at 12:24 p.m. This call lasted for one minute 52 seconds. Mr. Ireland was at work in Galway driving a truck at that time. A work colleague, Mr. Richard O’Connor, was present in the truck for the duration of the call. John Carthy sounded calm and relaxed and he told Mr. Ireland that he was in the house with a gun and that there were loads of guards, about sixty, outside with ‘‘guns and everything’’. John Carthy, he stated, said that he had nearly every window ‘‘broke out of the house’’. In response to a request from Kevin Ireland not to do anything stupid like shooting himself or anyone else, John Carthy said that he ‘‘hadn’t a notion’’ and that he was ‘‘just trying to keep them away from the house or something’’. Mr. Ireland commented that he was firing shots and John Carthy replied that he was ‘‘just keeping them away from the house’’. In response to a request to give himself up, John Carthy replied that he would give himself up if he got a solicitor. He asked Mr. Ireland to get him a solicitor by the name of ‘‘Mick Finucane’’. John Carthy said that his own family ‘‘wouldn’t even get him a solicitor’’. Mr. Ireland told him that he would get him a solicitor. John Carthy ended the phone call abruptly by hanging up. Kevin Ireland tried to phone him back but his call was not answered. He said that he tried again throughout the day.
Richard O’Connor’s evidence
Mr. O’Connor could only hear what Kevin Ireland said. He thought the tone of the conversation was calm and relaxed. He overheard Mr. Ireland saying to John Carthy not to hurt anyone, not to hurt himself, not do anything stupid and to give himself up. He confirmed that Kevin Ireland told him that John Carthy was ‘‘kind of laughing about the 60 cowardly guards outside’’, that he had sent them for cigarettes and that he wanted a named solicitor from Dublin; though Mr. O’Connor could not recall the solicitor’s name. Mr. Ireland denied that John Carthy mentioned anything about fags and stated that the first he, Kevin Ireland, heard about the cigarettes was through the media.
Subsequent events regarding the subject’s phone call to Kevin Ireland
It appears that soon after the event Mr. Ireland informed his mother that he had had a phone call from John Carthy. She is a part-time worker with Shannonside Radio and she contacted one of their reporters, Ms Noeleen Leddy who was then at Abbeylara. She was told that Mr. Ireland had been asked by his friend to contact a Dublin solicitor called Mick or John Finucane on his behalf. Ms Leddy was not told that Mr. Carthy had said he would give himself up if he got a solicitor. She informed Superintendents Farrelly and Shelly about the phone call and of Mr. Carthy’s request to his friend to contact a particular solicitor for him. She gave them Mr. Ireland’s mobile number. Neither superintendent or any other garda officer contacted him but he called to report the matter to the gardaı´in Galway and through them had a phone call with Sergeant Monahan at Granard garda station.
Kevin Ireland contacts Sergeant Monahan
Mr. Ireland went to Mill Street garda station in Galway at about 2:00 p.m. on 20th April to report the phone call from John Carthy having been advised by friends and family to do that. Telephone records maintained by the Garda confirm that a call from Mill Street garda station to Granard took place at 2:21 p.m. Mr. Ireland spoke to Sergeant Daniel Monahan in Granard who made a note of the contents of the conversation as follows:
‘‘12:00 midday received a call from John Carthy on his mobile. Appeared calm and relaxed; advised to give himself up. Mentioned a solicitor by the name of Mick or John Finucane from Dublin. His mobile phone went dead. Worked on a building site with him in Galway. Worked as a labourer. Does not know the mobile number for John Carthy. Not to inform the gardaı´ that he had rang. Not to inform John Carthy that he had rang gardaı´’’.
The note also included details of Kevin Ireland’s mobile number. During the course of his evidence, the contents of this note were put to Kevin Ireland who agreed that it reflected what he told Sergeant Monahan. He stated, however, that he had John Carthy’s phone number in his mobile phone but did not have his phone with him at that time. He did not know John Carthy’s number ‘‘off the top of his head’’, and did not recall being asked for that number. He further stated that he was ‘‘nearly 100% sure’’ that he told Sergeant Monahan that the solicitor could have ‘‘republican links or something like that’’. When questioned as to whether he made any request of Sergeant Monahan, he stated that he thought that he may have asked that the gardaı´ tell John Carthy that they were getting him a solicitor. Initially in his evidence Mr. Ireland said that he had no discussion with Sergeant Monahan as to why John Carthy wanted a solicitor but later said that he was ‘‘nearly 100% sure’’ that he did mention to Sergeant Monahan that John Carthy had said that he would give himself up if he got a solicitor.
Save for the conversation outlined above which he had with Sergeant Monahan, Mr. Ireland was not questioned by any other member of the gardaı´ about the phone call, during the incident.
Sergeant Monahan’s evidence
Sergeant Monahan told the Tribunal that shortly after 2:00 p.m. he received a telephone call from Mill Street garda station. He spoke to a person who identified himself as Kevin Ireland. Mr. Ireland told him that he had received a call from John Carthy on his mobile phone at 12:00 p.m. Sergeant Monahan learned that the subject had mentioned a solicitor by the name of ‘‘Mick or John Finucane’’ from Dublin. He also learned that he appeared relaxed, calm, was talking freely to Kevin Ireland and that at some stage in the conversation his mobile phone went dead. Mr. Ireland, he said, made no request of him. Sergeant Monahan made a note of the conversation which has been outlined above. This entry also recorded:
‘‘Garda Oliver Cassidy checked Golden Pages and myself checked Directory Enquiries and John Cunningham, district clerk checked 01 Directory...
Sergeant J. Folan was present at that time. I could find no name of a solicitor by the name Finucane. In formed Superintendent Joe Shelly who was at the scene and passed on all details.’’
Sergeant Monahan believed that he was on the telephone for approximately six to eight minutes. He did not accept Kevin Ireland’s statement and evidence to the effect that he was informed that John Carthy had indicated to him in the telephone conversation that he would give himself up if he got a solicitor. Sergeant Monahan said that Kevin Ireland had not told him that the solicitor ‘‘could have republican links’’.
Following the phone call Sergeant Monahan directed that inquiries be made in the station to try and identify the solicitor mentioned. The witness made no contact with any local solicitor nor did he contact the Law Society or the State Solicitor. He continued making his inquiries for a further half an hour and then passed on the information to Superintendent Shelly at the scene and told him that he couldn’t find a solicitor by the name of ‘‘Mick or John Finucane’’ from Dublin. He spoke to Superintendent Shelly at approximately 2:45 p.m. or 2:50 p.m. Superintendent Shelly directed him to try to find the solicitor. After that Sergeant Monahan continued checking the 01 telephone directory, but without success. He confirmed that in the course of their inquiries the gardaı´did not make direct contact with the Carthy family.
Superintendent Shelly’s evidence
Superintendent Shelly told the Tribunal that he had received information about John Carthy’s phone call to Mr. Ireland from two sources, from Ms Leddy and from Sergeant Monahan.
Information from Noeleen Leddy
Superintendent Shelly told the Tribunal that he was informed by Ms Leddy, that:
i. she had been contacted by Mrs. Mary Ireland who worked in Shannonside radio station and whom she knew;
ii. she was told that Kevin Ireland knew John Carthy as they had worked together on building sites in Galway;
Mrs. Ireland informed her that her son Kevin telephoned her that morning and told her that he had received a phone call from John Carthy and that he had mentioned that he wanted a solicitor; the name of the solicitor was not mentioned at that stage; and,
iv. Kevin Ireland had told his mother that John Carthy had indicated that he was able to make the guards ‘‘duck up and down’’ and that he had mentioned something about ‘‘watching this space’’.
Superintendent Shelly said Ms Leddy gave him Mr. Ireland’s mobile phone number.
Information from Sergeant Monahan
Superintendent Shelly told the Tribunal that at approximately 2:30 p.m. he received a call from Sergeant Monahan who informed him that he had received a phone call from Kevin Ireland from Mill Street garda station in Galway; and that Mr. Ireland had mentioned a solicitor named ‘‘Mick or John Finucane’’.
Detective Garda Sullivan’s evidence
Garda Sullivan told the Tribunal that he joined Superintendent Shelly, Superintendent Farrelly and Ms Leddy at 1:15 p.m. The superintendents had already been speaking to Ms Leddy and he understood that he was being requested to speak to her ‘‘to get the information first-hand to bring to Detective Sergeant Jackson’’. He stated that he did not take any notes of the conversation with her nor did he have sight of her note. In what he described as a brief conversation, he learned from her that:
i. she had received a telephone call from Kevin Ireland’s mother to the effect that Kevin Ireland had received a telephone call from John Carthy at 11:30 that morning;
ii. John Carthy had discussed the situation with Kevin Ireland and that he, the subject, had supposedly spoken to friends some two weeks previously about ‘‘doing something big’’, because life was tough;
when Kevin Ireland asked him what he was going to do he replied, ‘‘watch this space’’;
iv. John Carthy appeared to be boasting about being able to make the guards duck; and,
v. he had mentioned seeking a solicitor from Dublin.
Garda Sullivan stated that he particularly remembered the phrase ‘‘watch this space’’ as it ‘‘seemed significant’’ to him, and that it was the ‘‘most pertinent point’’ that he took from the discussion. On further questioning, he stated that he was not told that the subject had said that he was going to do something big ‘‘that day’’. However to him, the phrase ‘‘watch this space’’ indicated that John Carthy was going to do something ‘‘now’’; i.e. in the course of the siege — that something was going to happen that day. Garda Sullivan stated that he distinguished this phrase from the reference to the conversation the subject allegedly had with his friends in relation to ‘‘doing something big’’.
Garda Sullivan stated that he did not receive Mr. Ireland’s phone number from Ms Leddy, nor did he ask for it. Mrs. Mary Ireland’s phone number was not sought. He also gave evidence that he did not hear any reference to ‘‘Mollaghans’’.
After the conversation he returned to the negotiation post and relayed the information to Sergeant Jackson. He did not recollect informing Sergeant Jackson that John Carthy had said that ‘‘he hadn’t a notion of doing anything dangerous’’ nor did he recall obtaining such information from Ms Leddy. He stated that the information he conveyed was quite the opposite; that is, ‘‘watch this space’’,
indicating to him that something was going to happen. He told the Tribunal that these words, that is, ‘‘watch this space’’, were specifically relayed to Sergeant Jackson. It was put to Garda Sullivan that Sergeant Jackson appeared to have acquired more information from him on this point than that set out by him. Garda Sullivan re-emphasized that this was all that was relayed to him from the command post, though he thought that Superintendent Shelly may have spoken to Sergeant Jackson.
Shortly after 3:00 p.m. Garda Sullivan stated that he was called to the command post and was told by Superintendent Shelly that he had obtained information that ‘‘John’’ or ‘‘Mick Funucane’’ might be the solicitor John Carthy was looking for. While Garda Sullivan did not recall the full extent of how that information had been received he brought it to Sergeant Jackson. He also advised the negotiator that Superintendent Shelly wished him to attempt to inquire from John Carthy who Mr. Finucane was and where he could be contacted.
Detective Sergeant Jackson’s evidence
Sergeant Jackson told the Tribunal that Garda Sullivan returned to the negotiation post with information from Ms Leddy, that:
i. Kevin Ireland had told his mother that John Carthy had telephoned him at approximately 11:30 a.m.;
ii. John Carthy was boasting about making all the gardaı´ outside duck up and down to avoid being shot;
iii. John Carthy had mentioned to Mr. Ireland that he wanted a solicitor;
iv. Mr. Ireland said that John Carthy had been calm during the call; and,
v. the subject was going to do something big that day and he said that Garda Sullivan may have used the phrase ‘‘watch this space’’ and that he interpreted this as ‘‘something was going to happen here today that John had said that — that he was going to embark on some action; that is the general gist of it’’.
When asked if the foregoing represented the information he received from Garda Sullivan, Sergeant Jackson replied that it was, as far as he could recollect, but then went on to say ‘‘sorry, there may have been information in relation to, I am just trying to recollect, just basically John was messing with us, wasn’t serious in what he was doing. That was the tone of it, really, in general terms and that he hadn’t a notion of doing anything dangerous on this day. That was the general tone of it’’.
Failure to debrief Kevin Ireland
It is evident that Mr. Ireland was not adequately interrogated about Mr. Carthy’s phone call. If that had happened the scene commander and the negotiator would have learned that the subject had assured his friend that he had no intention of shooting himself or anyone else and that his purpose in firing shots was to keep the gardaı´ away from his house. (See Kevin Ireland’s account of it, referred to herein).
They also would have ascertained the crucial information that Mr. Carthy’s motivation for requiring a solicitor at the scene appears to have been in the context of negotiating his surrender to the gardaı´. This was a major development which, if it had been realised by the police, appears to have opened the door to an ending of the impasse.
Further information on the Kevin Ireland phone call given to the negotiator
At approximately 3:00 p.m. Sergeant Jackson was told by Garda Sullivan that Mr. Ireland had spoken to the gardaı´ in Granard. From this contact he understood that he had said to Mr. Ireland that he wanted a solicitor named ‘‘John or Mick Finucane’’. He believed that efforts were being made by Superintendent Shelly to identify who this person was. He was told that Superintendent Shelly wished him to inquire from John Carthy who Mr. Finucane was and where he could be contacted. He was also informed by Garda Sullivan that Mr. Ireland had told Sergeant Monahan that John Carthy had appeared calm on the phone and that Mr. Ireland was concerned that the fact that he had contacted the gardaı´ was something which was not to be mentioned to the subject.
Information received by the Tactical Team leader
Sergeant Russell was not provided with any information regarding the phone call from John Carthy to Mr. Ireland. He was questioned on whether this was important information for him to assess, concerning the subject’s state of mind at that time. He stated that any information, including this information, which might come from the subject himself, would be helpful. It would help him form an opinion ‘‘or just to help me’’.
Contact with the family following receipt of the information from Noeleen Leddy and Kevin Ireland
John Carthy’s family was not informed of his request to Kevin Ireland to get him a solicitor. It was denied by the senior officers that a decision was taken not to inform the family of this request.
Contact with John Carthy following the call to Kevin Ireland
On receipt of the information Sergeant Jackson spoke again to John Carthy and focused on the request relating to a solicitor. He told the subject that he would get a solicitor; that the gardaı´ would bring him down if he identified him but that they would need to know who he was. Sergeant Jackson told the Tribunal that John Carthy replied that he wanted ‘‘a republican one’’. Sergeant Jackson asked him ‘‘what is his number or where can we contact him’’ and that ‘‘we will ensure you are ok when you come out’’. John Carthy replied ‘‘no fucking way, I want him in here’’. Sergeant Jackson went on to say:
‘‘John, we are worried about letting a solicitor in there with you because of the gun you have, but we will get him to meet you outside if that is what you want. John please tell me who he is and where he can be contacted’’.
John Carthy’s reply to this was, ‘‘don’t bother, don’t bother’’. Sergeant Jackson thereafter repeated this request to identify a solicitor but received no reply. The negotiator did not seek any information as to who the family solicitor might be.
SECTION H — The Events of the Afternoon at the Scene
Continued attempts at dialogue
At about 1:00 p.m. during the course of Detective Sergeant Jackson’s attempts at dialogue, John Carthy began to interrupt his efforts; these interruptions being described in evidence as an effort to shout him down ‘‘with slogans such as ‘Free State bastard, you are just like the Black and Tans’ ’’. This comment by the subject was repeated during the course of the afternoon and the frequency increased.
The loudhailer is shot from the wall
At 1:06 p.m., while the negotiator was speaking to John Carthy, the loudhailer, which had been placed between the concrete blocks on top of the wall at the negotiation post, was shot from the wall.
The location of negotiation post is reconsidered
In the course of the evidence of relevant garda officers an issue arose as to whether there was consideration given to the relocation of the negotiation post when shots were fired by the subject in that direction, thus exposing garda officers to danger. This issue is considered in Chapter 6. For the reasons referred to there the negotiation post was not relocated.
Numbers of visible gardaı´ — John Carthy’s space
Detective Sergeant Russell was asked for his opinion on the number of members of the gardaı´ that he thought John Carthy may have been able to see from the window. He believed that the number was minimal. These might have included Detective Garda Carey, Sergeant Jackson, Detective Garda Sullivan and himself. Other persons on the cordon were kept out of sight, he stated. Sergeant Russell spoke with Sergeant Jackson and it was agreed that when relief personnel came to that area, they were instructed to go into the new house. The reason behind this, he said, was that they did not want to ‘‘crowd John Carthy out’’. They wished to give him space. Relief personnel were told to remain in the house out of sight. He believed that from the subject’s position, he could see probably no more than three or four armed members of the Garda Sı´ocha´na at any one time.
Arrival of ERU relief personnel
Three ERU relief personnel arrived at the scene shortly before 1:00 p.m. These were Detective Garda William Sisk, Detective Garda Joseph Finnegan and Detective Garda Aidan McCabe. Sergeant Russell stated that he spoke briefly to Superintendent Shelly and explained that he would be standing down personnel then deployed at cordon points.
Instructions to relief personnel
The tactical commander stated that he fully briefed the new personnel on John Carthy’s background and brought them up to date on what was happening, and where garda personnel had been deployed. He informed them of the policy decision which had been taken by the scene commander of containment and negotiation. That would continue. He confirmed that he instructed the three new members in the same way as he had instructed the other members on the previous evening. He explained to them that:
‘‘if the subject exited the building unarmed we would conduct a controlled exit and enable his arrest to be conducted in a safe manner when he would be handed over to local gardaı´. If he exited the house in an uncontrolled manner with a firearm, their objective would be to disarm him and to use whatever reasonable means at their disposal to achieve this purpose — to enable them to make an arrest’’.
However, he informed them that if all means of persuasion failed and if the situation arose where any person present was in imminent danger of losing their life or at risk of serious injury, then (and only then) could they use as much force as was necessary, including the discharge of firearms, ‘‘to achieve a legal purpose and to prevent this happening’’. He went on to say that he:
‘‘wanted them to have the option — firearms were only to be used here as a last resort; that every other avenue should be exhausted; that it was incumbent on them to offer any other possible tactical initiative before they would resort to firearms and in that, as I said, you are relying on the initiative of the particular members who are in the situation. I can only set the scene and the plan, it is up to them to actually deal with the situation as they found it at that particular time themselves. It is impossible to legislate for his demeanour at the time. We can describe the possible scenarios, but it is up to them to make an assessment themselves of the situation, the likelihood of being successful in disarming him’’.
Sergeant Russell could not recall whether he went into the specifics of the gun being broken or unbroken but he believed:
‘‘it would be a consideration in the response of any member as part of their training, that they would know the difference between a broken gun or an unbroken gun, these are assessments they would have to make. They were put through this in their training, to make an assessment’’.
Shortly after the relief personnel arrived, the shot timed at 1.06 p.m. was discharged at the negotiation point and Sergeant Russell remembered saying to those officers:
‘‘you understand now what we are dealing with here, you have to be aware of your own safety, don’t take any chances or do anything reckless that will cause you to be injured, one, or cause him to actually respond in a fashion that would compromise his own safety’’.
He stated that he wished to ensure that they understood that they were not to do anything to precipitate actions resulting in ‘‘officer creating jeopardy’’. He told them not to do anything that might be reckless or which might precipitate action on the part of John Carthy. ‘‘That was a consideration from the very beginning’’, he stated. (Surprisingly, Sergeant Russell’s concept of ‘‘officer created jeopardy’’ did not include local armed and uniformed officers exposed on and about the road near the command vehicle and who constituted a target for John Carthy as he walked towards Abbeylara holding his gun in an apparently aggressive way.)
Sergeant Russell also confirmed that he discussed the Firearms Regulations with the relief officers and reminded them of their obligations concerning the rules of engagement. He checked their personal kit, allocated weapons and deployed them to their positions around the house.
Deployment of relief personnel
Garda Finnegan, armed with an Uzi sub-machine gun, took up a position at the back of the house, relieving Detective Garda Ryan. Garda Sisk took possession of the Heckler & Koch rifle and relieved Garda Carey who was at the pillar on the roadway between Farrell’s house and Carthy’s house. Garda McCabe took up position at the negotiation point. He was given the Uzi sub-machine gun which Sergeant Russell had been carrying up to that point.
Assistant Commissioner Hickey leaves the scene
At some point prior to 2:00 p.m. Assistant Commissioner Hickey left the scene and returned to his office in Mullingar.
Attempted contact with John Carthy continues into the afternoon
The negotiator continued to try to telephone the subject but there was no answer. As the loudhailer which had been shot from the wall was damaged, these calls took place from the ERU jeep which was at the boundary of the Farrell and Carthy dwellings. At 1:38 p.m. John Carthy answered Sergeant Jackson’s call and asked him ‘‘what’s with the hundred guards outside and only one of me’’. Sergeant Jackson replied:
‘‘John there’s only a few guards here and the only reason that they are here is that you have that gun and you are firing at us. If you put the gun down and come out the guards will go away. I am out here to help you to come out of the house’’.
John Carthy’s reply to this was ‘‘you are not going to come in and take the gun off me again’’. The subject hung up after this. (It is evident that the latter observation related to the occasion in 1998 when Garda Cassidy caused Mr. Carthy to hand over his gun by subterfuge. See Chapter 8.) Sergeant Jackson phoned the subject on a number of occasions again following this and eventually he answered the phone. The negotiator said to him: ‘‘John, please tell me what has happened to make you do all this, tell me what it is and I can help’’. His reply to this was ‘‘I am going to get ten years for all of this, ten fucking years.’’ Sergeant Jackson saw this as a statement of huge significance. It indicated to him that the subject was ‘‘beginning, hopefully, to think with some degree of rationality. He was worried about the consequences of his actions which is obviously what a rational person may do’’. It also indicated to Sergeant Jackson that perhaps he was thinking about coming out of the house; and that, on the issue of suicide, because he was ‘‘considering issues to the future’’, it may have indicated that ‘‘he may not be contemplating harming himself... at that stage’’. Sergeant Jackson saw this as a positive development. He told the Tribunal that he tried to reassure him and said to him:
‘‘John you won’t get ten years, nobody is hurt and that is good. We understand what happened yesterday was because you were angry so come out now and it will be ok’’.
The subject’s reply to this was ‘‘Fuck off’’ and he hung up. Sergeant Jackson stated that he told him that he ‘‘should not be worried about getting ten years and things are not as serious as he thinks, especially as no one has been hurt’’.
At approximately 1:45 p.m. John Carthy telephoned the negotiator. He did not talk but raised the volume of loud music playing in the background.
A replacement loudhailer was brought to the negotiation post and Sergeant Jackson returned to continue negotiations from that position. He revisited the question of the ‘‘10 years’’ as he wished to ‘‘capitalise as best I could on John’s comments.’’ He reassured him that nobody had been hurt; that there was no question of prison; and that it was understood that what he needed was help in his difficulties and that everybody was there and willing to help him. The subject’s response was to raise up and level the shotgun at the negotiation post forcing the ERU members present to take cover behind the wall. The negotiator stated in evidence that the subject continued to bang the table in the kitchen with the butt of the shotgun and that he moved between the back of the room and the window.
Sean Farrell is brought to the scene
Thomas Walsh made contact with Mr. Sean Farrell, a friend of John Carthy’s, as he believed that he would be the best person to speak with him. Mr. Walsh introduced Mr. Farrell to the gardaı´ saying that he was someone the subject looked up to. Superintendent Shelly told Garda Sullivan that John Carthy regarded Mr. Farrell as a ‘‘role model’’ and that he, Mr. Farrell, was willing to speak with him. Garda Sullivan relayed this information to Sergeant Jackson. The latter then spoke to Superintendent Shelly and it was agreed that Mr. Farrell should be utilised. During this conversation
Superintendent Shelly and Sergeant Jackson also spoke about the progress of the negotiations and decided to continue in the same manner, even with the slow, limited progress that had occurred. (In fact no progress had been made up to then.)
Sergeant Jackson spoke to the subject by loudhailer and told him that Mr. Farrell was there and wanted to speak to him. The subject replied ‘‘bring him down’’. Garda Sullivan briefed Mr. Farrell on the process before bringing him to the negotiation post. The negotiator told Mr. Farrell that he would like him to attempt to capitalise on his close relationship with John Carthy. He stated in evidence that ‘‘attempting to work on the slipstream of Mr. Carthy’s comments about being worried about what was going to happen when he came out’’, he told Mr. Farrell that he wanted him to focus on the consequences of John Carthy’s actions and to offer him reassurances as to what had happened in relation to the incident; get him to look to the future; that there was a good future for him, and assure him that he would be willing to employ him in the plastering trade.
Mr. Farrell was at the negotiating point from approximately 2:05 p.m. to 2:50 p.m. He spoke to John Carthy for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. He asked him what had happened to cause all this and asked him to talk to him. He offered reassurance that everybody including the gardaı´ were there to help, saying that he would wait outside and meet him when he came out if that is what he was worried about. He made it clear to John Carthy that he could always have work from him, and that when he came out there was a job for him — ‘‘that was guaranteed’’. He did not receive any reply to any of these requests. He then said to the subject that he was hurt and disappointed that he would not talk to him, and made repeated efforts to open dialogue, but to no avail. During this period, the subject had the gun levelled at the negotiation position, but appeared to be listening to what Mr. Farrell was saying. Mr. Farrell told him that he would ring him on his mobile phone and this he tried up to six times. The phone was answered but John Carthy said nothing.
Mr. Farrell was then brought back to the command post.
Increased agitation — vigilance, glass-breaking and watch-looking
Sometime after Mr. Farrell left, John Carthy became quite agitated and, according to those observing him, his movements became accelerated. He was constantly checking the window. He appeared to Sergeant Jackson to be in a ‘‘state of hyper-vigilance’’. The negotiator recommenced attempts to negotiate on the loudhailer to try once more to address the subject’s worries regarding the consequences of his actions. He stated that he ‘‘felt it may be fruitful to follow up on that and offer reassurance on that basis and certainly that is whatI did in the hour or the minutes and hours after that and right throughout... in an attempt to indicate to John about his future and trying to focus in on the fact that he was thinking about the future’’. Therefore he spoke to John Carthy about Sean Farrell’s offer of employment; Dr. Shanley and his willingness to help; and, in general terms, about everybody — family, friends and the gardaı´ — being willing to offer help. He described this as a ‘‘general, broad range reassurance of Mr. Carthy at that stage.’’
The subject’s reply to all this was: ‘‘Free State bastards. No way am I coming out. Come on in and get me’’. In response Sergeant Jackson told him that the gardaı´ did not want to hurt him and that all they wanted to do was to get him out safely. He thought that the responses he had received were given in ‘‘a somewhat overtly agitated and boastful way.’’ On this occasion, as on other occasions when he received responses that he interpreted as ‘‘bravado’’, he addressed the issue of suicide, asking the subject if he was thinking of hurting himself or thinking of suicide.
At about this time, the remaining sections in the glass of the gable window were broken out by John Carthy. Further, Sergeant Jackson said that the subject began to check his watch repeatedly in a deliberate way ‘‘and nearly, in one sense, as if he wanted to show us he was looking at his watch.’’ The negotiator asked him why he was checking his watch. He did not receive a verbal reply but he gave, what Sergeant Jackson described as, a ‘‘wry or a sarcastic’’ smile or smirk.
At this time the negotiator received information from the command post that John Carthy, in his phone call to Kevin Ireland, had mentioned a solicitor by name. He therefore told the subject that he was aware that the solicitor he wanted to talk to was ‘‘Mick or John Finucane’’. He asked him to help identify him, and where he could be contacted. He stated that he assured him that they would get Mr. Finucane for him, and that he, the solicitor, would be here for him if he wanted to talk to him. There was no reply to this request which, he stated, was reiterated on a number of occasions. During the course of Sergeant Jackson’s requests to the subject to answer the telephone, he threw the house telephone into the garden. The time was then just after 3:00 p.m.
Sergeant Russell told the Tribunal that he overheard the subject stating to Sergeant Jackson that he was not coming out of the house and that ‘‘if we wanted him, to come in and get him’’. According to the negotiator, John Carthy was gesturing at them to shoot him and shouted ‘‘shoot me, shoot me’’. At that, he would suddenly pick up the firearm and point it at them in what Sergeant Russell described as a threatening manner. He stated that the subject had the gun in his right hand, and was pointing towards his chest with his left hand, saying ‘‘shoot me’’.
Detective Sergeant Russell rests
At approximately 3:00 p.m. Sergeant Russell informed Superintendent Shelly that he was going to rest in the Carthy’s new house. He instructed Garda Flaherty, who was the next most senior member, to cover for him. He left Garda Flaherty in control of the inner cordon but said that he was still in overall charge and did not relinquish responsibility in any form. He requested his junior to summon him if there were any developments.
Mr. Lennon, a friend and workmate of John Carthy, telephoned him on his mobile phone at approximately 3:00 p.m. The subject answered the phone and Mr. Lennon
said ‘‘any craic’’. He said no, and asked Mr. Lennon what he wanted. Mr. Lennon told him that he was just ringing to see how he was, to which the subject said he was busy, that he had to go and hung up. Mr. Lennon said that John Carthy sounded ‘‘all right’’ and ‘‘calm’’.
Mr. Lennon had previously attempted to call John Carthy before midday on that day but there was no answer. Mr. Lennon said that about an hour later he called again and the phone was engaged, and five minutes after this he called for the third time and the subject answered the phone but did not say anything. Mr. Lennon heard the radio playing in the background.
Detective Sergeant Jackson rests
At approximately 3:20 p.m. Sergeant Jackson wished to take some rest. He informed John Carthy of this and told him that Garda Sullivan would be there during his absence, and that he would talk to him. At that stage Sergeant Jackson believed that he was still in a position to continue as negotiator, but that if the incident went into a second night, he would need to be replaced. Sergeant Jackson then went to rest in the official jeep.
Detective Garda Sullivan attempts to contact John Carthy
Garda Sullivan tried to contact John Carthy; introduced himself and attempted to reassure him. These attempts continued on an intermittent basis until approximately 4:30 p.m. Garda Sullivan thought that the subject was calm. However, during the period of his attempts to negotiate, Mr. Carthy regularly levelled the gun at him which forced him to duck. He thought that he enjoyed this, in that he would smile in what Garda Sullivan described as a ‘‘knowing way, that he was in control’’. He told the Tribunal that he said to him that ‘‘I can’t hear you if you keep making me duck’’. At some point during this period, John Carthy, as a result of a prompt by Garda Sullivan, mentioned the name ‘‘Finucane’’ in relation to the solicitor request and asked why the gardaı´ had not got him. The witness pressed the subject on the first name of the solicitor, but did not get a reply. According to Garda Sullivan, he then started saying things to him such as ‘‘Free State bastards’’ and ‘‘shoot me, shoot me’’. On one occasion, John Carthy came to the window with his arms outstretched. He had the gun in one hand, in a pose that Garda Sullivan took to be a taunt to the gardaı´, inviting them to shoot him. Garda Sullivan said to the subject that the gardaı´ were just doing their job and the only problem was the gun which he had in his hands. He told him that the situation could easily be resolved by him; by putting the gun down, and coming out, and that he would be treated well. Garda Sullivan said he received no response, although he formed the impression that the subject was still listening to him. He continued to attempt to communicate with him until 4:30 p.m.
Chief Superintendent Tansey attends at Granard garda station; speaks with Assistant Commissioner Hickey and returns to the scene
At approximately 3:15 p.m. Chief Superintendent Tansey travelled from his office in Mullingar to Granard garda station. He read the file in connection with the confiscation of the shotgun and the subsequent events leading to its return and the renewal of John Carthy’s firearm certificate. While in Granard garda station, Chief Superintendent Tansey spoke with Assistant Commissioner Hickey about the current position and discussed the overall review that they proposed to carry out at around ‘‘tea time’’. Assistant Commissioner Hickey said that such review would be very much guided by the advice they might receive from Dr. Shanley. At 4:20 p.m. he returned to the scene and spoke to Superintendent Shelly and Inspector Maguire at the back of the jeep ‘‘in the vicinity of the command post’’. Inspector Maguire informed him that Dr. Shanley was on his way to the scene and Superintendent Shelly brought him up to date on developments. Chief Superintendent Tansey stated that he thought that very little progress had been made. He was also informed of the developments in connection with the solicitor issue.
John Carthy’s arrest is discussed
Assistant Commissioner Hickey and Chief Superintendent Tansey discussed what steps they should take if John Carthy came out of the house, from the point of view of his arrest, that is to say, whether they should proceed under the Mental Treatment Act, 1945 or the Firearms Acts. During the course of this conversation it was decided that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions should be telephoned for advice. Superintendent Shelly made this telephone call at approximately 5:30 p.m.
Dr. Shanley arrives in Abbeylara and visits Rose Carthy
Dr. Shanley, who was travelling to the west of Ireland that afternoon with his family for the Easter holiday, stated that he got delayed in bank holiday traffic. He was met by Garda Reynolds and Garda Carthy in Edgeworthstown at approximately 4:15 p.m. and taken to Abbeylara where he met Superintendent Shelly. He recalled that Inspector Maguire was present and that Chief Superintendent Tansey may also have been there. Dr. Shanley was informed that the siege was continuing and that John Carthy had fired a number of shots. When asked in evidence whether Superintendent Shelly, at this stage, outlined to him what role it was anticipated he might play, Dr. Shanley replied that he did not, but that from his point of view he ‘‘went to Abbe ylara with the hope and expectation that I might be able to talk to John. I am not saying that there would have been any different outcome, butI would have liked to have had the opportunity to try and talk to John, to have been able to offer him, if you like, sanctuary, in St. Patrick’s hospital. That, I felt, was my major role’’.
Dr. Shanley was anxious to speak with the family. Garda Reynolds and Detective Sergeant Foley took him to the Mahon house to meet Mrs. Carthy. Dr. Shanley told the Tribunal that at that time, Mrs. Carthy was ‘‘clearly upset’’ and he thought that she was sedated. Dr. Shanley thought, but was not ‘‘entirely sure’’ that Mrs. Carthy ‘‘may have indicated that John had been taking some alcohol in the lead up in the days
before.’’ Dr. Shanley learned very little else from Mrs. Carthy other than that her son was in the house and firing his shotgun. He was then informed by another member of the family (he thought that it was Mrs. Patricia Mahon) that in the days leading up to the incident John Carthy had become more irritable; was not sleeping well, and had been drinking. Dr. Shanley asked Mrs. Mahon did the family think that he was depressed, and she replied that they ‘‘were not entirely sure.’’ Dr. Shanley said that they also told him that he had been ‘‘talking a lot’’. On foot of all of this information the doctor found it difficult to make an assessment of his patient’s condition.
Dr. Shanley spent between 25 to 30 minutes in the house before being brought back to Abbeylara shortly after 5:00 p.m.
Detective Sergeant Jackson returns to duty
At approximately 4:30 p.m. Sergeant Jackson returned to the negotiation post, where he was briefed by Garda Sullivan on events which had taken place in his absence. He was informed that the subject had levelled the shotgun forcing Garda Sullivan to take cover behind the wall. The negotiator learned that Dr. Shanley had arrived at the scene and was anxious to speak to the family. He was also informed that Ms Carthy was at the scene and wished to speak with her brother. Sergeant Jackson noted that John Carthy was levelling his shotgun at the negotiation post on a regular basis. He stated that both he and Superintendent Shelly agreed that Ms Carthy should be brought to the negotiation post to talk to her brother.
Evidence of John Carthy’s increased agitation between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Detective Sergeant Jackson tells John Carthy that Marie Carthy and Dr. Shanley are at the scene
At approximately 5:00 p.m., the negotiator using the loudhailer called to John Carthy to tell him that his sister and Dr. Shanley were present and that they were very anxious to speak with him. He could see him at this stage at the window with the gun in his right hand. He saw him smirk, level his shotgun, and then discharge the weapon. The shot struck a block which fell and struck Sergeant Jackson who had taken cover behind the wall. The latter told the Tribunal that he asked the subject to stop shooting, and told him that it was causing a difficulty and a problem for the gardaı´. At this stage he became concerned in relation to bringing Marie Carthy to the negotiation post and spoke with Superintendent Shelly about this. It was agreed that he would try to persuade the subject on the telephone to ‘‘try and engage Marie Carthy on the phone with her brother inside’’.
Sergeant Jackson observed John Carthy moving from room to room in what was described as a very agitated and restless manner. He learned that other gardaı´ had heard furniture being broken in the house at that particular time. Sergeant Jackson himself only heard him banging the table, he believed with the butt of the gun, and constantly saying ‘‘why?, why?’’ to any question posed by him.
Sergeant Jackson was asked whether he thought that the subject’s agitation at this stage was on a different level to that which he had seen earlier in the day. He replied, ‘‘certainly it was more constant at that stage, it was a longer period. There were intermittent periods of agitation previously but this was a reasonably long period of agitation from in and around 5:10 up until this point. Probably for that period, maybe, 15 to 20 minutes, [there] was an ongoing period of agitation and a lot of noise coming from the house’’.
Detective Garda Sisk’s observations
Between 4:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Garda Sisk, who was on the roadway at the boundary of the Farrell and Carthy properties, observed John Carthy banging the butt of his gun against furniture and shouting ‘‘why?, why?’’ in response to Sergeant Jackson’s attempts at contact. After approximately 20 minutes, the subject closed the curtains on the gable window. Thereafter, he was intermittently observed pointing the shotgun through the holes in the net curtains. On these occasions, Garda Sisk stated that he feared for his life and took cover behind the wall. Five minutes later John Carthy opened the curtains. After firing his weapon at 5:06 p.m., he took a fresh cartridge from his gun belt, which he was wearing, and reloaded the gun. He again pointed the weapon out the window. Garda Sisk observed him looking at his watch. He was doing this more frequently than he had been earlier in the day. Shortly before 5:45 p.m. he observed him point his shotgun at the negotiation post; again Garda Sisk took cover.
Detective Garda McCabe’s observations
Garda McCabe noted that John Carthy had become more agitated since Sergeant Jackson’s return at 4:30 p.m. He was aware that Dr. Shanley and Ms Carthy had arrived at the scene. Garda McCabe observed John Carthy pacing around the room and levelling the shotgun out the window. He also observed him knocking the television set to the floor.
Detective Sergeant Russell is contacted
Having heard the shot fired at 5:06 p.m., Sergeant Russell discussed the matter with Superintendent Shelly. He told him that he was back on duty. He returned to the new house at 5:20 p.m and was told that the subject was breaking furniture.
Dr. Cullen contacts the Garda at 5:00 p.m.
Dr. Cullen stated in evidence that, on his own initiative, he contacted the gardaı´ in Granard at 5:00 p.m. and told them that he would be available at 6.30 p.m., after evening surgery.
Superintendent Shelly contacts the Director of Public Prosecutions
As the Easter bank holiday weekend was approaching, Superintendent Shelly contacted the DPP’s office to seek advice as to what charges should be preferred against John Carthy in the event of an arrest being made. He spoke to Mr. David
Gormally, a professional officer. Mr. Gormally informed the Tribunal that he discussed the powers of arrest that the gardaı´ would have, and the effect that John Carthy’s mental condition may have on how he would be dealt with. No suggestion was made to Mr. Gormally by Superintendent Shelly that, as Mr. Carthy was not motivated by criminal ideation but by an outbreak of severe mental illness that, in the interest of ending the impasse, the director might agree to postponement of arrest and charging of Mr. Carthy provided that he left his house without his gun and proceeded immediately to St. Patrick’s hospital with Dr. Shanley for in-patient treatment there under his direction.
During the course of his conversation with Mr. Gormally, Superintendent Shelly told him that the subject had requested a solicitor by the name of ‘‘Finucane’’ and that he (Superintendent Shelly) was unable to establish the identity of such a person. Mr. Gormally told the superintendent that he was aware that there was an individual by that name in the offices of Garrett Sheehan (Solicitor) in Dublin, who he believed to be a solicitor’s apprentice there. Mr. Michael Finucane, who was in April, 2000 an apprentice solicitor in that office, informed the Tribunal that he had never met, acted for, or had any dealings with John Carthy.
Dr. Shanley, Marie Carthy, Thomas Walsh and Martin Shelly are brought to the scene
Superintendent Farrelly stated in evidence that some short time after 5:20 p.m. he drove Dr. Shanley and Ms Carthy from the area of the church to a location outside Walsh’s house. Garda Sullivan went to speak to Dr. Shanley. He sat into the car with the doctor. Marie Carthy, Thomas Walsh and Martin Shelly were also in the car. Ms Carthy told him that she was anxious to talk to her brother. In the light of this, Garda Sullivan said that he decided to try and accommodate her request, saying in evidence, ‘‘I dealt with Marie then’’. Dr. Shanley understood that the gardaı´ had decided that Marie Carthy would speak to his patient first and that he would speak to him afterwards.
Marie Carthy attempts telephone contact with John Carthy
Detective Garda Sullivan explained to Ms Carthy that her brother had become particularly agitated at this point, that he had fired more shots and that it would be unsafe for her to go down. He suggested that she try to contact him by telephone. Garda Sullivan gave her Sergeant Jackson’s mobile phone. She rang her brother’s mobile phone number several times but he did not answer.
Arrangements are made for Dr. Shanley to speak with John Carthy
Garda Sullivan returned to the negotiation post and informed Sergeant Jackson of what had transpired and the failed attempts to make telephone contact with John Carthy. The negotiator requested Garda Sullivan to return to the car, to collect Dr. Shanley and to bring him to the negotiation post. Shortly after 5:45 p.m., Garda
Sullivan was on his way back to collect Dr. Shanley when he heard a shout ‘‘He’s out, he’s out’’.
The sequence of events that followed is set out in Chapter 5.
SECTION I — The Subject’s Mental State During the Siege
Expert opinion on the subject’s mental state at that time
John Carthy had a history of bipolar affective disorder, which had been diagnosed and for which he was receiving treatment. From the evidence of his medical history it is clear that notwithstanding his treatment he had experienced episodes of mental illness, in the form of bouts of depression and/or elation, for which on occasions he required to be hospitalised.
In early 2000, the evidence has been that John Carthy was going through a major period of crisis as a result of the effects of a number of significant adverse life events. As previously outlined, the subject had had a traumatic relationship break up; had recently lost his job, was the butt of local slagging (in relation to the goat mascot episode arising out of his wrongful arrest) and was concerned about moving to the new house. There is also evidence that he had consumed alcohol in the days before the incident. Further, Holy Thursday was a day which had particular significance for him in that his father and grandfather, both of whom had been intimately connected with the old home which was about to be demolished by the local authority had died on a Holy Thursday. His father died on 1 2th April, 1990 — a Holy Thursday. The second day of the siege, 20th April, 2000 was a Holy Thursday. His father had featured in some earlier episodes of bipolar disturbance as a person close to the subject whom he believed he had failed and let down. It is noted that opinions were expressed in evidence by Dr. Sheehan, Dr. Turkington, Professor Fahy and Dr. Kennedy on the connection between the major relapse suffered by Mr. Carthy in his bipolar illness and the anniversary of his father’s death at this time. The following observations were made by Dr. Sheehan:
‘‘The pattern was that when Mr. Carthy experienced depression, a feature of that was a sense of guilt that he had failed his father, so I would see the symptoms in relation to his father as being part of his depression as opposed to long-standing what we call morbid grief’’.
‘‘I think certainly the father’s death and the anniversary is very relevant.... we know that anniversaries are particularly relevant in a normal sense first of all, but also they can have particular resonance or implications for individuals predisposed to mental health problems, so we know that Holy Thursday would have been of special significance for him’’.
In his evidence Dr. Turkington stated:
‘‘It is just worthwhile mentioning that the onset of Mr. Carthy’s bipolar disorder, that his manic depression, is actually caused by his father’s death... that is the event that triggers him into manic depression and this is so because of his genetic vulnerability through the family line and also because of his personality. He was actually unable to grieve and get over the death. I don’t think that he ever does properly grieve over the father’s death and this sets him up with a propensity to an anniversary depression, at the anniversary of the death each year. That is really where his bipolar disorder all starts’’.
It seems reasonable to conclude that the tenth anniversary of his father’s death coinciding with the imminent demolition of the old home, which was intimately connected with him in Mr. Carthy’s mind, would underline the significance of both events in a particular way and escalate his violent response to them.
It is commonly agreed by all of the psychiatrists who gave evidence to the Tribunal that in the period leading up to 1 9th/20th April, 2000 John Carthy had a relapse in his illness and that during the course of the stand-off at Abbeylara he was seriously mentally ill.
The psychiatrists agree that the form of illness experienced by John Carthy was likely to have caused him to have symptoms of both depression and elation during the incident. His behaviour was likely to have been influenced by a combination of mental illness, his personality, and the adverse effects of life events.
What follows are the views expressed in evidence by the psychiatrists in relation to the subject’s mental state over the period 1 9th/20th April 2000. The evidence of Dr. Shanley in this regard is also recorded, although he was not called to give evidence to the Tribunal in the capacity of an expert witness but rather as a witness to fact. It is appropriate to bear in mind that none of the psychiatrists (other than Dr. Shanley) who gave evidence ever met John Carthy or had any connection with him during his life. They were reliant on the evidence of others and on medical records for their assessment of him. Dr. Shanley had known the subject and had treated him as a patient for psychiatric illness over a period of about five years.
John Carthy’s mental history
Dr. Sheehan’s diagnosis of John Carthy’s mental condition was that prior to the events of 1 9th/20th April, 2000 he had bipolar disorder. From time to time he endured a mixed affective state wherein he experienced symptoms of both depression and elation contemporaneously.
John Carthy’s mental state during the incident
Dr. Sheehan believed that during the course of the siege in April, 2000 the subject was probably manic and delusional. The event he felt was spontaneous and
unplanned. He noted that John Carthy was behaving in an aggressive manner before and during the stand-off. The subject was verbally aggressive, irritable; he laughed inappropriately; his speech was rapid, almost incoherent at times, and he was noted to be hyperactive. Had he been depressed his speech would have been slower as would his actions.
Dr. Sheehan felt that the subject had also become paranoid, and was feeling persecuted, particularly in relation to the gardaı´. Paranoia is often associated with mania. He was, he stated, elated and paranoid at the time of the siege:
‘‘. . . he was elated and paranoid. Suicide by and large is associated with depression and hopelessness, so the exact opposite to what we were seeing. When you look at assessing risk, the patient who is depressed, hopeless, sees no way out, no future for themselves, in the context of depressive illness, that is the risk factor. Whereas Mr. Carthy’s mental state was that he was elated and paranoid’’.
Insight refers to the extent the patient is aware that he is ill, recognises the nature of his illness and recognises that his behaviour may be a product of his illness.
John Carthy had lost insight into his condition in the past when he became hypomanic. It is therefore likely according to Dr. Sheehan that he lost insight into his condition at the time of the stand-off. This loss of insight remained in all probability for the duration of the incident. (It appears that that opinion does not take fully into account John Carthy’s phone call to Kevin Ireland on the second day (20th April) which suggests that he had significant awareness and understanding of what he was doing and that he had no intention of shooting himself or anyone else. His explanation regarding use of his gun at the scene seems credible and does not appear to indicate a loss of insight. It is reasonable to conclude that the subject had understandable grounds for his antagonism towards and distrust of the police arising out of past experiences, i.e., wrongful arrest and physical abuse under interrogation and also the obtaining possession of his gun by deception without investigation of alleged complaints and fears (see Chapter 8). The evidence appears to indicate a probability that his antagonism was accentuated by the renewed manifestation of his bipolar affective disorder; one indication of the aggravation being a vehement determination that he would not surrender to the gardaı´ and, in particular, that he would not again hand over his gun to them. He was surrounded by armed gardaı´, including a negotiator who was seeking his surrender. In these circumstances it does not seem to be surprising that he would use his gun to keep the ERU at bay, but not to shoot them, and that is what he did. It is also significant that Mr. Ireland described Mr. Carthy as being ‘‘calm’’ and not distressed when speaking to him on the phone. He was similarly described as such by Mr. Kieran Lennon who spoke to him by phone at about 3:00 p.m. on 20th April, i.e., less than three hours before his fatal shooting. Furthermore, it seems that the subject’s objective in asking his friend, Kevin Ireland, to contact a named solicitor to attend the scene was in the context of a possible negotiated surrender. This is consistent with the reality of the situation facing
Mr. Carthy at that time: that is, that he was near the end of his tether — having exhausted almost all of his ammunition — and in practical terms he may have realised that it was not possible to continue the stand-off for much longer).
Because of loss of insight, Dr. Sheehan felt that it was unlikely that Dr. Shanley would have been able to talk John Carthy down. The subject was too ill, he had failed to respond to the presence of his sister, and in those circumstances he felt that it was unlikely that he would respond to his psychiatrist. It was unlikely that the offer of a bed and treatment in St. Patrick’s was going to be of any tangible value because of John Carthy’s paranoid ideas and his disturbed mental state and his consequent complete lack of insight. (The statement that John Carthy had failed to respond to the presence of his sister is not factually correct. After the Kevin Ireland phone call, he tried to contact his sister by mobile phone but to no avail as inadvertently he used a number which had been recently changed).
Delusions are associated with mania and not hypomania. A person in a hypomanic state will not suffer from delusions.
Dr. Sheehan felt that John Carthy had a delusional belief that he was engaged in defending the family homestead from attack. The motivating force for his abnormal behaviour was the delusional belief. The difficulty for the negotiator was that John Carthy wouldn’t have believed any concession that was made to him — such as an offer to stay the demolition of the house. The negotiator wouldn’t have been in a position to debate the issue and present evidence because the abnormal belief was so powerful.
Dr. Sheehan noted that a person in a similar mental state to that of John Carthy had a reduced ability to reason and the more agitated and disturbed the person was the more difficult they were to reason with. John Carthy’s behaviour over the course of the event was erratic and irrational. (This assessment does not seem to take cognisance of the fact, which also emerged in the Kevin Ireland phone call, that Mr. Carthy’s object in requiring a solicitor at the scene was the possibility of negotiating surrender. As already stated, that seems to indicate that he was capable of a realistic assessment of his difficulties in the context of continuing the stand-off at that time.)
John Carthy’s mental state on leaving the house
Dr. Sheehan believed that John Carthy had a motive for leaving the house. However, like the other medical experts, he agrees that it is a matter of pure speculation as to what the motivating factor was. The subject’s behaviour was consistent with his elated and paranoid state. He had displayed unpredictability, impulsiveness and invincibility after he left the house. Dr. Sheehan’s opinion was that the subject’s behaviour at that time can be best understood in the context of his mental illness (mania). He acted impulsively, in an unpredictable manner either oblivious to, or with a disregard for, the dangers which surrounded him.
Dr. Sheehan’s view was that on leaving the house John Carthy’s behaviour was unpredictable, impulsive and that, in all the circumstances, he posed a real risk to the gardaı´. Having already discharged his firearm on many occasions, it was reasonable to conclude that he was likely to discharge it again after leaving the house. Having taken the safety catch off the gun outside the house there was a high risk that he was going to use the weapon, and in his paranoid state he was likely to misinterpret somebody’s actions as being threatening, which would actually result in him using his weapon.
Dr. Harry Kennedy
John Carthy’s mental history
Dr. Kennedy diagnosed John Carthy as having a bipolar affective disorder with a schizo-affective element to it.
Dr. Kennedy explained that there was little difference between bipolar affective disorder and bipolar disorder with a schizo-affective element to it. The schizo-affective element to the illness reflected the prominence of an oversensitivity or paranoia in John Carthy’s presentation.
Paranoia causes an oversensitivity to real or imagined slights and causes a further tendency to view interactions with others as being more persecutory in nature than they are intended to be.
John Carthy’s mental state during the incident
Dr. Kennedy believed that in the lead up to 1 9th/20th April, 2000 John Carthy suffered a relapse of his illness and became hypomanic or manic. This relapse may have been caused as a result of him adhering to his antidepressant medication (which may have precipitated an elevation of mood) but at the same time failing to take his stelazine, a prescribed anti-psychotic drug, which would have helped to control his elation, irritability and associated delusions.
Dr. Kennedy’s view was that anger was the dominant feature of John Carthy’s presentation, an anger derived from an abnormal mental state. As time went on he became more angry and more irritable. He was disturbed and likely to have been suffering from delusions.
Dr. Kennedy in his evidence discussed the process by which natural inhibitions to violence may be overcome leading a normally non-violent person to do a violent act. There were three stages to the process; fantasy, rehearsal and then escalation. Fantasy is imagining what one would do; rehearsal is thinking of some way of testing out that plan, i.e., breaking something, throwing a plate, breaking a window, and
then escalation is raising the level of violence in preparation for the act contemplated. Examples would be John Carthy breaking out the glass in the kitchen in the early stages of the incident and prior to leaving the house he was seen to act in an agitated fashion beating the butt of the gun against the table and smashing windows. Dr. Kennedy was of the view that these acts represented rehearsals and escalations in preparation for further acts of violence.
In his conclusions Dr. Kennedy noted that at the time of his death John Carthy was aroused, angry and exhibiting escalating threatening behaviour. (This opinion does not seem to take into account the evidence that the subject did not threaten or take any action against the armed ERU officers who were in his immediate vicinity shouting at him to drop his gun (i.e. to surrender) from the time when he left his house and headed up the road in the Abbeylara direction. It seems clear that his conduct bore out his calm assurance to Kevin Ireland a few hours earlier that he had no intention of shooting himself or anyone else.)
Dr. Kennedy’s opinion was that John Carthy was mentally intact in relation to his capacities — he could perceive his surroundings; he was able to reason, based on those perceptions, and was able to form intentions based on his reasoning. However, his capacity to perceive and to correctly interpret his social interactions and his capacity to reason and make rational decisions were all profoundly impaired. (This assessment does not seem to accord with the factual evidence — particularly the content of the Kevin Ireland phone call and Mr. Carthy’s conduct on leaving the house which are already referred to herein. Dr. Kennedy did not address these facts. He also did not refer to the subject’s apparent rationality in requiring a solicitor at the scene in the context of a negotiated surrender.)
Dr. Kennedy further concluded that more than likely John Carthy was deluded and may well have been experiencing hallucinations. As a result of the foregoing the subject was likely to be reasoning in a deluded confused way, which gave rise to difficulties in interpreting his behaviour. An overt act when committed by a rational person may have a very obvious motivation; however, the same act committed by a person reasoning in a confused, deluded and psychotic manner may be the product of an entirely different motivation. Dr. Kennedy’s view is that it is impossible to interpret John Carthy’s behaviour in a rational way. (For the reasons already stated, that conclusion does not appear to be well founded.)
The effect of the Garda presence
Dr. Kennedy felt that whereas it might have been helpful from a psychiatric perspective for the gardaı´ to pull back and hope that John Carthy would calm down (undoubtedly the correct strategy when dealing with an angry aroused normal person whose anger in time would recede), one had to bear in mind the fact that for a person with mental illness the anger may not abate.
‘‘. . . it is on a natural history of its own, often relatively unrelated to external events and he may simply continue getting more and more manic and angry and disturbed because of the nature of the illness.’’
The likelihood is that if everyone had just withdrawn it wouldn’t have made any difference to his mental state; he would still have been angry, aroused, suspicious, grandiose and armed.
It was suggested that a de-escalation of the situation could be viewed by John Carthy as a triumph such as would lead to the dissipation of his anger. Dr. Kennedy explained that the concept of triumph was already present as part of the grandiosity associated with the manic mental state. John Carthy already had this sense of triumph — he had the gardaı´ ducking up and down in response to his gun.
A normal person who takes exception to something done or said by somebody else will claim that his or her angry irritable state was provoked by the other person. Much the same response may be expected in mania except that the ill person already has anger present inside him or her and the exceptional event is used as an explanation for internal anger ‘‘... I feel angry, it must have been because you provoked me .. .’’. Thus the ill person may attribute all of his or her internal anger in a disproportionate manner to a real or imagined slight. This often leads to the onset of delusions.
It was suggested to Dr. Kennedy that in addition to the withdrawal of the gardaı´, something ought to have been done to alleviate John Carthy’s fear about the destruction of the family home, to which he responded that in the early stages of the relapse of an illness such as John Carthy had, reasonable problems can be dealt with reasonably — the problem is the relapse will carry on anyway and offering him whatever he wanted in relation to the house would not necessarily have relieved the situation and would certainly not have relieved his mental state:
‘‘It might not have relieved the situation because of the circularity I was mentioning before, that the theme is seized on as if it was the cause of the problem when actually it is not the cause’’.
John Carthy’s mental state on leaving the house
Dr. Kennedy was of the view that at the time John Carthy left the house his thinking was dominated by delusions and hallucinations and that in those circumstances any act by him might have no significance or might have some delusional symbolic significance only he would understand, saying that:
‘‘Mr. Carthy may also have been acting in an impulsive, unpremeditated way which lacked any premeditated plan or purpose other than the expression of some strong emotion, though the precise emotion may have been anger, fear, despair or elation, or any combination. If this was so, anger seems the most likely’’.
It was suggested to Dr. Kennedy that Dr. Sheehan found no particular evidence of hallucinations. Dr. Kennedy advanced as evidence for the presence of hallucinations the fact that John Carthy had been mumbling to himself, wandering around preoccupied, which Dr. Kennedy felt was a common external sign that somebody was responding to hallucinations; the other evidence being John Carthy’s turning up
of the radio which he felt may have been an attempt to drown out hallucinations. Dr. Kennedy’s possible evidence of hallucinations is tenuous. I prefer Dr. Sheehan’s assessment.
Dr. Kennedy expressed the view that however disturbed and deluded John Carthy was, nevertheless he remained a potent threat in that all the indicators are that he was angry and hostile in mood and disposition, with angry and hostile intentions and that he remained capable of the accurate use of his gun. (That assessment appears to be contrary to the subject’s conduct in not shooting at or threatening any of the armed ERU officers who were close by and shouting at him to surrender after he left the house; his calm assurance to Mr. Ireland a few hours before his death that he had no intention of shooting anyone; and, his apparent rationality in requiring a solicitor at the scene in the context of a negotiated surrender to end the impasse.)
John Carthy’s mental history
Professor Fahy diagnosed John Carthy as having bipolar affective disorder. His view was that the relapse experienced by him in the early months of 2000 was predominantly hypomanic in type although he accepted that during acute periods of his illness that he was affected by a mixed pattern of symptoms including, arousal, irritability, elation, and depressive elements, all of which were exacerbated by his adverse life experience.
His mental state during the incident
Professor Fahy felt that at the time of the incident the subject was in a predominately hypomanic state with some depressive themes interwoven, consistent with a mixed affective disorder. In such a state the symptoms of elation and depression can alternate or co-exist. In John Carthy’s case the mixed state was a combination of elation, anger, irritability with some depressive features. He stated:
‘‘My own simplest interpretation of what has happened in this man’s case is that it is the coalition really of his bipolar disorder, his personality and a series of life events coming together, that culminated in this remarkable outcome’’.
Mixed affective state
A mixed affective state is a mix of different themes and emotions. The simplistic notion of hypomania is that while affected by that state a person feels good. Rather it is often the case that a person affected in that way may feel angry, unhappy, deeply distressed, giving rise to the mixed affective state. John Carthy was predominately in a hypomanic state deteriorating over the course of the event.
Insight and rationality
Professor Fahy expressed the opinion that the subject had diminished insight into his illness over the course of the event. He made the point that insight is a dynamic
variable and that the more severe the disturbance the greater the loss of insight. John Carthy had probably never been so unwell in all his life.
Professor Fahy agreed that Kevin Ireland was the only person that John Carthy communicated with in any meaningful way. However, he found the subject’s conversation with him to be quite striking and said that:
‘‘it seems almost out of place when one looks at the rest of those communications’’.
He stated that it was surprising that Mr. Carthy appeared as calm as he was reported to have been in that conversation, but it was not incompatible with the diagnosis of a hypomanic episode. Professor Fahy went on to say:
‘‘So it is not necessarily a state that affects the individual every minute of every hour of every day that they are in it, there is going to be an element of fluctuation and an ability to engage in sensible conversations at times.’’
Professor Fahy thought that the fact that John Carthy was shooting the megaphone off the wall approximately half an hour following the phone call was the type of fluctuation that one would expect to find in a person in John Carthy’s condition. (It appears that it could be interpreted also as an act of amusement.)
Professor Fahy was asked how he saw the conversation between John Carthy and Kevin Ireland fitting into the pattern of his illness, as exemplified on that particular day. The witness described the conversation as being one that:
‘‘fits into a pattern perhaps of energised, possibly grandiose thinking. As I have said earlier, it seems to be an island of sort of coherence when all around, it seemed to be very chaotic’’.
Professor Fahy was then asked whether it was unusual to have an ‘‘island of rationality’’ in circumstances where mania was the ‘‘primary thing being exhibited’’, and replied:
‘‘No, it is not andI think that it is an important point, that the patient’s mental state can fluctuate, again depending on external stressors, whether they are being provoked, whether they feel they are getting their own way or not, so in that sense, it is interesting, but it certainly does not undermine the suggestion that he was entering into a more severe state of mental illness during the course of the siege’’.
Professor Fahy said that the more one enters a hypo-manic or manic state the more inaccessible and perhaps less insightful the person is.
This does not seem to take into account that the Kevin Ireland conversation did not take place until midway through the second day of the event, i.e., just six hours before John Carthy was shot. More particularly, it does not take account of the subject’s purpose in making the phone call to his friend, i.e., asking him to contact a solicitor on his behalf to come to the scene and engage in negotiating with the police
an end to the siege. This does not appear to be indicative of a worsening of the illness or of the ‘‘inaccessibility’’ referred to by Professor Fahy.
Professor Fahy agreed that it was unlikely that John Carthy would have surrendered the gun to the gardaı´ as he would have viewed this course of action as a defeat. He may have surrendered it to someone whom he knew well and trusted, provided that he retained the capacity to think things through clearly and strategically; but the witness felt it was unlikely that he retained this ability towards the end. Professor Fahy felt that John Carthy was unlikely to respond to Dr. Shanley in relation to an offer of a bed in St. Patrick’s hospital because his behaviour was so irrational. He considered it unlikely that such an approach would meet with success when dealing with someone who was agitated, manic and irritable. In these circumstances one was not dealing with a rational man and it was unlikely that there would be a voluntary committal. He noted that in this episode, unlike in previous episodes, there had not been the same demonstration of insight. This assessment does not appear to be borne out by the facts. The purpose of the Kevin Ireland phone call (as already stated) would appear to have been a cogent demonstration of insight by the subject within hours of being shot.
Professor Fahy thought that, because of his illness, by the time John Carthy left the house, he was no longer capable of being reasoned with in a rational manner. His opinion is difficult to understand in the light of the subject’s assurance to his friend, Kevin Ireland, that he had no intention of shooting himself or anyone else — a course of conduct specifically borne out by the fact that he did not threaten any of the armed ERU officers he encountered at close range on leaving his house. He was also well aware that he needed mental treatment and, ironically, he had had an appointment to consult Dr. Shanley in St. Patrick’s hospital on the day of his death.
Professor Fahy said that if John Carthy had been drinking on the morning of 19th April then the contribution of alcohol to his subsequent behaviour may have been through behavioural disinhibition, rather than the effects of alcohol withdrawal. However, given the lack of information on John Carthy’s alcohol consumption prior to and during the incident it was difficult to gauge the effects of it, if any, on his overall condition.
Professor Fahy expressed the view that during the latter stages of 20th April, John Carthy was becoming manic. He was angry and irritable and had a combination of different emotions including, very possibly, some self-destructive ideas. During the latter stages of the siege he, John Carthy, didn’t value his life very highly. He was also extremely reckless in his behaviour and in his comments. Professor Fahy agreed that it might be more accurate to state that John Carthy was indifferent rather than reckless as to his welfare. He stated that towards the end of the incident he seemed to have reached the point of indifference about his own welfare and his own life.
John Carthy’s mental state on leaving the house
By the time the subject exited the house his mental state had deteriorated to such an extent that he only had a limited awareness of what he was doing. Professor Fahy regarded the watch-looking prior to his emergence as indicative of a degree of agitation and impatience on the part of John Carthy rather than an indicator that he was about to undertake something specific. His behaviour during the latter stages of the siege particularly on leaving the house were driven, in Professor Fahy’s view, by his mental illness. He was in an acute state of mania, with incoherent thought processes. In Professor Fahy’s view John Carthy was unlikely to have been working to a coherent plan and was unlikely to be capable of formulating such a clear definite plan. Instead his mental illness was causing him to act through impatience and a disregard for his own safety. He explained that when someone was in an advanced state of disturbance he or she may no longer be able to assess risk because of confusion.
John Carthy’s mental history
Dr. Turkington observed that John Carthy’s bipolar illness was initially predominately depressive, involving repeated depressive episodes interspersed with a lesser number of manic episodes. He noted that at times he experienced mixed affective states (i.e., episodes with mania and depression present at the same time).
The subject, in addition to being psychotic during his illness, also had to contend with a paranoid trait to his personality. This trait led him to have paranoid ideas and ideas of reference as part of his personality.
It is clear that John Carthy had a paranoid trait within his personality. He was certainly sensitive to any real or imagined teasing or taunting and there was evidence that he tended to take things personally. He tended to respond to such taunting in a combative manner. The paranoid personality, according to Dr. Turkington, will typically be stubborn, brooding and argumentative. Such an individual is likely to be resentful, brooding and angry over teasing and taunting, and to react to slights in an argumentative and threatening manner. John Carthy had a paranoid trait as part of his normal personality.
Ideas of reference
These are psychotic symptoms, which include the idea that comments on television or radio refer to the individual in question. Casual remarks made within earshot of the individual by others can be understood to relate to him or her and may be interpreted as being critical, accusatory or insulting.
Dr. Turkington distinguished between paranoia and psychosis and explained that a person with a paranoid personality has paranoid ideas and ideas of reference as part
of their personality but these ideas are only thoughts and not beliefs. A psychotic, on the other hand, who becomes delusional, actually harbours false beliefs.
John Carthy’s mental state during the incident
At the time of the siege John Carthy, was suffering from a mixture of hypomania, irritability, intermingled lowering of mood and anger with some suicidal ideation expressed. (The subject told Mr. Ireland in his phone-call on 20th April that he had no intention of injuring himself. This does not appear to have been taken into account by Dr. Turkington.) John Carthy was disinhibited, overactive and with pressure of speech. The witness also expressed the opinion that the subject appears to have had intermingled paranoid ideas concerning the gardaı´.
The break-up of his relationship, according to Dr Turkington, was a major life event for John Carthy and was probably part of the reason that he went into a form of mixed affective state with episodes of depression and slight elation during the week of the stand-off.
Dr. Turkington believes that the subject did not appear to have had an endogenous rhythm to his illness. In some people affected by bipolar disorder, the trigger for their illness are chemical imbalances that affect the brain. These triggers are caused from within or are endogenous. In others, the triggers for illness may be as a result of external negative life events known as exogenous factors. In John Carthy’s case it was more likely that exogenous factors tipped him into illness.
He expressed the opinion that during the siege there was evidence of emerging hypomania in John Carthy, but he was not severely manic. He had no flights of ideas, no grandiose delusions, no hallucinations. The subject was a bit overactive but there was a coexistence of some depressive symptoms. He was in a mixed affective state, which was more hypomanic than depressed. He started to become elated as the siege began and by the end of it he was hypomanic, but had not become manic, which is a very disturbed state.
Dr. Turkington believed that whereas John Carthy was angry, abusive, irritable with impaired sleep, he was not laughing inappropriately and all of his comments were understandable and rational. The content of his speech was not typical of mania — it was typical of a paranoid personality. In mania the speech can become so pressured and with such accelerated tempo that even the subject cannot follow it and nor can anyone else. John Carthy’s comments were flavoured by a belief that he had been wronged by the gardaı´, but he was not incoherent. In addition, he was able to have a normal calm rational phone call with Kevin Ireland, as well as appearing at the window and having suicidal ideation.
The life events, including the ‘‘slagging’’, the loss of his girlfriend, the perceived ill-treatment by the gardaı´, the barring from the pub etc., were not only the triggers for his mental illness relapse, but were also perpetuating and aggravating factors feeding his anger and irritability.
Dr. Turkington stated that John Carthy’s suicidal intent was personality driven and did not arise from his depression. Had it arisen from his depression he would, more than likely, have just shot himself as soon as he possibly could. Dr. Turkington stated:
‘‘. . . on balance, I think the lead up to this, I would take it as seventy per cent personality and only thirty per cent the emergence of this mixed affective picture. So, I think a lot of what happened here was driven by his personality, life events, the slagging, all the various things which were accumulating at that point in time’’.
Dr Turkington felt, that the request by John Carthy for the gardaı´ to shoot him, was a typical development in a ‘‘suicide by cop’’ stand-off situation of a ‘‘disturbed type’’ (see Chapter 14 Victim Provoked Police Shooting — ‘‘Suicide by cop’’). In the ‘‘disturbed type’’ a moderate level of suicidal intent is present together with a degree of ambivalence. The outcome, he said, depended on how the situation was handled, i.e., whether steps were taken to diffuse the situation or whether matters were allowed to escalate. Unfortunately the situation did escalate and over the course of the siege John Carthy’s illness worsened and on the day of his death he was becoming more hypomanic. A hypomanic person is rational, knows what he or she is thinking, doing, and saying.
John Carthy’s mental state on leaving the house
By the time of his exit John Carthy was in a mixed affective state; he was not delusional, in fact Dr. Turkington believed he was highly rational. He was asked if the actions of John Carthy on leaving the house were those of a rational being doing what an experienced gunman would do or those of somebody trying to get himself killed. He replied:
‘‘I think it could well be the act of somebody who is trying to get themselves killed, but not the actions of somebody with severe psychotic mania. These acts are purposeful, they are organised. He communicates a very clear message, he looks at the gardaı´ quite clearly as he goes out there. He either thinks that he can just walk out of there and have no problem, but then again he is cradling the gun and his finger is on the trigger mechanism, so he knows that he is giving out all the information, that he is going to be a danger to other people. The only conclusion I can make is that he is doing this to be shot’’.
He thought that John Carthy was quite rational in what he was doing at this time; rational enough to know that he was about to be shot. He enjoyed having control over the gardaı´ during the siege. He enjoyed making them jump about and duck and he made eye contact on the way out, staying in control until he was shot dead.
Dr. Turkington’s assessment of the situation presented by John Carthy is of particular interest. However, I have difficulty in accepting his conclusion regarding the subject’s motivation in leaving the house, i.e., that his conduct indicated an intention to bring about a situation whereby he would be shot by the police. If that had been his object, he could have achieved it readily by turning his gun on one of the armed ERU men who were within feet of him. If he did so, an officer would have to respond
immediately by shooting him dead. It also seems to be significant that while walking on rough ground near his house, he did what an experienced, careful shooter should do, i.e., he broke open his gun until he reached the road at his gateway. I have no difficulty in understanding that in his advanced state of mental distress at that time, Mr. Carthy was probably reckless for his own safety and that he did not realise the gravity of the risk he was taking; but I am not convinced he appreciated that he was about to be shot or that he had any intention of bringing that situation about.
John Carthy’s mental history
Dr. Shanley had diagnosed John Carthy as having a bipolar disorder as discussed elsewhere in this report (see Chapter 3).
John Carthy’s mental state during the incident
Dr. Shanley gave evidence to the Tribunal in April, 2003. He felt unable to say whether his patient was suffering from a mood disorder at the time of the incident. His intuition was that he was probably more high than low.
In response to a question concerning the gravity of John Carthy’s mental condition on 1 9th/20th April Dr. Shanley responded as follows:
‘‘... however based upon the events of the 19th and 20th April 2000, and the accounts of close relatives and members of the Garda Sı´ocha´na, John Carthy appears to have been very disturbed on the 1 9th and 20th April 2000. Those events suggest that John was probably clinically depressed’’.
When Dr. Shanley returned to the Tribunal to give further evidence in October, 2003 he confirmed that there was a reasonable likelihood that the subject was in fact depressed during the incident. All of the life events affecting him would have aggravated the depression.
Finally, in response to questions put to Dr. Shanley in cross-examination, while reiterating that any retrospective diagnosis was speculative, he conceded that there was evidence to suggest the presence of both poles in John Carthy’s behaviour, i.e., mania and depression, known as a mixed affective state.
Insight and rational thought
Dr. Shanley’s view was that one would not have any insight into one’s own condition during periods of elation or depression.
He thought that during 1 9th/20th April, John Carthy was unlikely to have anything like the same degree of insight that he would ordinarily have and that his ability to reason would be compromised; the extent of such compromise depending on the severity of the bout of elation or depression.
The subject may not have realised that he needed help and may not have contacted Dr. Shanley in circumstances where he was clearly elated or severely depressed. He would have liked to have had an opportunity to talk to the subject but stressed that, even if he had had such an opportunity, the outcome might not have been any different.