Under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms everybody in Ireland has a right to life. It reads:
Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be
deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a
court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided
Deprivation of life shall not be regarded as inflicted in contravention of
this article when it results from the use of force which is no more than
This is the context in which to see any occasion when a person dies in police custody or as a result of State action.
Furthermore, however, it is incumbent on the State to properly investigate deaths. To fail to do so is itself a breach of the Convention.
The job of the police who carry out these investigations is not easy. Every police officer is trained in the giving of evidence. If they do not wish to disclose the true course of events it is easy for them to tailor their account to suit the needs of the situation.
It is a delusion promoted by crime writers to think that a witness can be “broken” in the witness box. Very rarely, a witness can be demolished, but that is not the same thing.
The obligation on the State (and the investigating detective) was summarised HERE by the House of Lords (in a case of suicide in police custody):
…it [the investigation] had to be initiated by the state itself, to be prompt and carried out with reasonable expedition, it had to be effective and conducted by a person who was independent of those implicated in the events under investigation.”
Step forward WALLANDER!