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23rd March 2023, 10:31

Former Commissioner of Police released on police bail after being held in custody for ten hours

Published by GBC News

The Former Commissioner of Police was released on police bail Thursday evening after being held in custody for ten hours.

Ian Mcgrail will need to return to New Mole House next Wednesday.

His legal team is expected to make a public statement on Friday to ensure people are kept informed in a balanced manner in a case where there are many ramifications and which has caused unprecedented public disquiet since June 2020.

Senior Investigating Officer John McVea, former Chief Superintendent of the Northern Ireland police service has confirmed a 56 year old man has been arrested on suspicion of misconduct in public office, conspiracy to obtain unauthorised access to computer material, and unlawful obtaining of personal data.

The arrest, carried out at 7.40am at a residence in the South District, is on suspicion of conspiracy to obtain unauthorised access to computer material directly related to data breach in inquiry

Mr McGrail's lawyer, Charles Gomez, was at New Mole House Police Station too.

For more information as to GBC's policies on why and when we name individuals who have been arrested, please see this document.

Police briefing

Mr McVea said this is the third arrest in relation to the data breach: two other people, arrested when the data breach was mentioned, are on bail. He did not rule out further arrests.

As to whether today's arrest will lead to charges, Mr McVea said evidence would be considered and the Director of Public Prosecutions would be consulted before a decision is taken.

On the question of impact on the public inquiry, the Investigating Officer said whether the inquiry can proceed and in what manner is a matter entirely for the Commissioner of the Inquiry, adding he would keep Sir Peter Openshaw informed as to the progress of the investigation.

Police statement

An RGP spokesperson said: “The Commissioner of Police Richard Ullger would like to reassure the public that, whilst this high-profile case is ongoing his officers will continue with their normal duties, keeping everyone safe and secure.

“The Royal Gibraltar Police remains committed to delivering a safer Gibraltar through excellence in policing – a view that was reinforced by last year’s His Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) report and frequent statements of confidence from His Excellency the Governor and the Chief Minister.”

Statement from the Government and the Governor

In a joint statement, the Government and the office of the Governor have said they note the arrest.

They say the investigation and prosecution of offences is a matter independently pursued by the prosecuting authorities in the name of the Crown and does not involve the Government.

They say they will therefore not comment at this stage.

The Governor and the Chief Minister echo the statement from Commissioner Ullger that the public can be reassured that, despite the ongoing investigation into this very serious matter, the RGP will continue to ensure the safety and security of the people of Gibraltar.

Impact on Public Inquiry 

The McGrail Inquiry has postponed its Fourth Preliminary Hearing, which had been scheduled for the 12th of April. The Inquiry says it is “not yet in a position to comment further on the impact of the arrest” but it “remains committed and determined to fulfil its obligations and will not permit these developments to put it off course.”

Click here for the Inquiry’s full statement on this “extremely serious development and live criminal investigation”. 

Investigating Officer John McVea, former Chief Superintendent of the Northern Ireland police service

Press briefing at the IPA Club