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21st September 2022, 20:17

GSD says Preliminary Hearing on McGrail Inquiry raises fundamental issues of the boundaries of constitutional duties & exercise of power by Chief Minister

The GSD says Tuesday's Preliminary Hearing on the McGrail Inquiry raises fundamental issues of the boundaries of constitutional duties and the exercise of power by the Chief Minister when it comes to sensitive policing matters affecting individuals.

In a statement, the Opposition said preserving the operational and institutional independence of the police from Ministers is absolutely crucial to our democracy.

The GSD says its striking that the Government has not denied the assertion made at the Preliminary hearing of the Ian McGrail Inquiry - namely that the Chief Minister and the Attorney General called the then Police Commissioner into a meeting on the 12th May 2020 to discuss the execution of a search warrant over someone close to Fabian Picardo. The party also points out Mr McGrail made a grave allegation that the Chief Minister "stood to gain financially from the alleged fraud" in an ongoing case.

The Opposition notes further allegations made by Mr McGrail - that the Chief Minister was extremely angry and used intemperate language to berate him - which was also not denied.

The hearing gave all parties the opportunity to set out their positions on the allegations of fact at the heart of the inquiry.

The Party highlights that while Government lawyers have set out the different and historic reasons why they say the Governor had lost confidence in Mr McGrail, it is obvious from the submissions of both sides that there was not a specific denial of an attempt to discuss the conduct of the ongoing investigation in which a search warrant had been executed.

The GSD questions in what circumstances is it ever appropriate for a Commissioner of Police to be summoned by a Minister to discuss a specific serious allegation about an individual close to that particular Minister.

The Party stressed police independence should be preserved and it's important for the Inquiry to run its course as soon as possible to get to the truth of what happened.

The GSD also called for the findings of the Inquiry to be published in full with no redactions.