Belfast Telegraph

NI police chief: We will learn from mistakes made in alleged abuse victim’s case

George Hamilton said he was struck by Mairia Cahill’s courage after meeting her.

Northern Ireland’s police chief George Hamilton has commended an alleged sex abuse victim and vowed to learn from mistakes made in her case.

Mairia Cahill, a grand-niece of prominent Belfast republican Joe Cahill, claimed she was sexually abused as a 16-year-old by alleged IRA member Martin Morris.

Mr Morris, who denied all wrongdoing, was later acquitted of rape when the case against him collapsed.

On Friday Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire delivered a scathing critique into police failings in the case, and also noted that Sinn Fein did not act when Ms Cahill originally made her allegations to senior party figures in 1997, instead waiting for three years to suspend her alleged attacker.

Mairia and I agreed that this was the first of many conversations between her and the Police Service, as we seek to learn from our mistakes George Hamilton

Mr Hamilton personally apologised to Ms Cahill on Thursday, and paid tribute to her resilience.

“I was struck by Mairia’s courage and resilience.

“I was also struck by the fact that she shouldn’t have had to display that much resilience, had Mairia and the other victims been better supported by the Police Service and by the wider criminal justice system,” Mr Hamilton commented following a meeting with Ms Cahill.

“We have all failed them and for that I once more apologise. The responsibility for the failing of these cases rest with the Criminal Justice system and not with Mairia or any other victim.

“Mairia and I agreed that this was the first of many conversations between her and the Police Service, as we seek to learn from our mistakes.

“I am keen to meet Mairia again to ensure that we improve these critical services to benefit all victims.”

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