Unionist Voice can today publish the full complaint made against the Police Ombudsman and reported in Saturday’s Irish News
Ref; Complaint into Police Ombudsman- Dr Michael Maguire
I wish to register a complaint in relation to the conduct of the Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire.
Pursuant to the Police Ombudsman customer complaint policy, it is appropriate to refer this matter to the department of justice given the complaints relate to the Police Ombudsman himself.
It is open to all service users , and stakeholders, to make a complaint in relation to the conduct of the Police Ombudsman. There is no relevant requirement to have relevant standing in relation to the particulars of any complaint, but rather it is open to all users , and stakeholders, to complain about any matter.
Accordingly I wish to formally submit the following complaint;
I submit that Dr Michael Maguire is in breach of Article 4 of the PONI Code of Ethics. This requires the Ombudsman to act “…operating to the highest standards of propriety and probity in the stewardship of public funds.”
Dr Maguire took part in the ‘No Stone Unturned’ documentary, which looked at the events relating to the Loughinisland massacre. During this documentary Dr Maguire was filmed inside the Police Ombudsman official car, for use in the documentary. This is a clear misuse of public funds, namely using PONI vehicles in furtherance of the making of a private commercial documentary.
The Police Ombudsman also attended screenings of the ‘No Stone Unturned’ documentary and it is understood that, again, the official PONI car was used to attend this private event.
Furthermore the use of fuel to travel to these events, including being filmed travelling in the car, is a use of public funds. As such these public funds were used in support of a private commercial enterprise. It is also a point of note that this was not any private commercial enterprise, but a highly controversial documentary based upon stolen PONI documents.
Article 7 of the PONI Code of Ethics states that the following; “The Police Ombudsman shall at no time, whether on or off duty, behave in a manner which would bring, or be likely to bring, discredit upon the Office of the Police Ombudsman.”
The ‘No Stone Unturned’ documentary was based upon a classified document ‘leaked’ from the Police Ombudsman’s office. As such it is entirely improper that the Police Ombudsman would participate in the documentary based upon documents illegally obtained from his office.
Dr Maguire further participated in screenings of the documentary. This is further bringing discredit upon the office of the Police Ombudsman.
Article 14 of the PONI Code of Ethics states that the Police Ombudsman investigate complaints in an “… even handed manner, free from bias or influence.” This is complimented by Article 32, which states “Police Ombudsman staff shall not place themselves under any obligation to individuals or organisations which might influence, or be perceived to influence, them in the performance of their duties.”
Dr Michael Maguire, in the documentary, addresses the assembled complainants and says;
“We have come a long way together”
The use of the word ‘we’ implies that Dr Maguire was collectively working in collaboration with the complainants, thus displaying the appearance of bias.
Given that Dr Maguire’s office, and himself personally, were working closely with the documentary makers, I submit this placed him under undue influence in coming to his conclusions.
The film makers are commercially linked to the solicitors representing the families, through Fine Point films and James Street Films. This clearly means that the Police Ombudsman used public funds, in the form of fuel for the Ombudsman’s official vehicle, to benefit a commercial enterprise linked to the complainants legal representatives.
The Police Ombudsman, pursuant to Article 23 of the PONI Code of Ethics, is required to comply with the office practice in relation to contact with the media. I submit that Dr Maguire’s participation in the documentary breached Article 23.
I wish to have the aforementioned areas of complaint formally investigated.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Since you’re here…
… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Unionist Voice than ever but unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can.
The Unionist Voice is editorially independent, meaning we set our own agenda. Our journalism is free from commercial bias. No one edits our Editor. No one steers our opinion. This is important because it enables us to give a voice to the voiceless, challenge the powerful and hold them to account. It’s what makes us different to so many others in the media, at a time when factual, honest reporting is critical.
f everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as £1, you can support the Unionist Voice– and it only takes a minute. Thank you.