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Detective Garda Colm Horkan killed in Castlerea, Roscommon - [MOD WARNING POST #1]

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  • Registered Users Posts: 16,384 ✭✭✭✭Galwayguy35


    Justice was served, he will be 86 before even being considered for release.

    I hadn't heard the deatails of what exactly happened until today and though the gun went off when they were fighting but to shoot him 11 times is shocking.

    Silver must be a very strong guy to be able to get the gun off Horkan who one would imagine was trained to handle himself in a fight.



  • Registered Users Posts: 24,943 ✭✭✭✭Strumms


    I wonder how the law would allow for any Garda to act if a person goes for their gun…?

    is the Garda only entitled to defend themselves from physical attack ? And physically try to defend their weapon and restrain / apprehend the perpetrators ? Or would it be interpreted that a person who is intent on gaining access to their firearm is doing so with the intention of using it ? Therefore it’s fair game to defend yourself with said gun ?



  • Registered Users Posts: 39,745 ✭✭✭✭Boggles


    I don't think guards are trained to deal with a large man with severe acute mental disorders. Particularly one on his own.

    The people who are trained are in the Central Mental Hospital which is where Silver was sent to after the murder.

    Whilst the jury did not believe he met the legal definition of diminished responsibly, this person was severely mentally ill and has been for decades.

    Something like this was always likely to happen given the erosion of mental health services in the country.

    Hopefully Colm's family can take some solace from the sentence, but there is far wider safety issues at play here, criminalising people with severe issues instead of treating them makes everyone less safe.

    The guards have been trying to be point this out for years to the powers that be.



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,309 ✭✭✭BrianD3


    Silver looks to have a very strong build and generally looks dangerous. Not the sort of individual you'd want to grapple with at close quarters. And as can be seen here, a firearm can be a hinderance rather than a help at such close range. There was another case in I think Kildare? where an armed Garda had his firearm taken off him and him and a colleague were then threatened and assaulted but thankfully not shot.

    This case may go some way to explaining why US cops are so aggressive when dealing with suspects. if you have a firearm that could be taken off you and/or the other guy may be armed or able to overpower you, you need to draw your weapon before he gets too close to you.

    It is good that Silver is locked away but I wonder did his appearance and demeanour influence the jury. Is he really "less mad" than "poor Deirdre Morley" and others who have been found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity. Also, as killing a Garda is regarded as such a heinous crime, the level of insanity needed to be found not guilty is probably higher than if you kill a normal citizen or your children.



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,698 ✭✭✭Xander10


    It's probably been stated already, but a lesson to be learnt, an armed Garda shouldn't be on patrol alone.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 14,527 ✭✭✭✭elperello


    It has but no harm to repeat it.

    I hope AGS management have got the message.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,500 ✭✭✭monkeybutter


    no Garda should be, it's daft

    not only is it safer for them, its safer for the public as it keeps them in line too.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,164 ✭✭✭Packrat


    This unfortunate case is the best argument ever against arming all gardai.

    I used to be in favour of it until a serving guard pointed out how interactions with the public would have to change totally.

    No more leaning into cars and "having a quiet word" with an errant young fella. Shouting at someone from 8 to 10 feet away with a gun at your side doesn't make for better relationships with the public.

    “The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command”



  • Registered Users Posts: 14,562 ✭✭✭✭Witcher


    They haven't because in the majority of towns outside the major cities there is no alternative but to have lone armed members or else there would be nobody armed at all within an hours drive. They either go out alone or they don't go out at all. There simply aren't the numbers to have two members on in many towns.

    You look at Wicklow Town as an example, if there isn't a local armed member you could be waiting on ASU to arrive from Enniscorthy or in some cases Naas or Dublin. There could be one ASU car covering a whole county and if they're engaged at a call and another one comes in for them it either holds or a car from a neighbouring county may attend. There isn't the coverage of armed members some people seem to think there is.



  • Registered Users Posts: 111 ✭✭Duke of Schomberg


    This case may go some way to explaining why US cops are so aggressive when dealing with suspects. if you have a firearm that could be taken off you and/or the other guy may be armed or able to overpower you, you need to draw your weapon before he gets too close to you.

    I used to be in favour of it until a serving guard pointed out how interactions with the public would have to change totally. No more leaning into cars and "having a quiet word" with an errant young fella. Shouting at someone from 8 to 10 feet away with a gun at your side doesn't make for better relationships with the public.


    These posters get the point exactly. I was a Reserve Constable with the South African Police for three years in the early 1990s. Carrying a revolver makes one very aware of the need to be wary and to keep people at arms length (literally), and you know that if do fire the thing in self-defence the "victims" family will go on the moan.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 14,527 ✭✭✭✭elperello


    Exactly but it has to change.

    Policing on the cheap serves neither members of AGS or the general public.

    Running budget surpluses and promising tax cuts while putting lives at risk is wrong.



  • Registered Users Posts: 16,678 ✭✭✭✭nacho libre


    I see Stephen Silver lodged an appeal. How likely is that to be granted? Would the defense have to show that there was some procedural flaw in the previous Court Case?



  • Registered Users Posts: 9,381 ✭✭✭Yurt2


    Hard to see how it could succeed. The trial appeared to be conducted fairly and the jury instructed correctly.

    His legal team may be trying to find fault with the legislation that allows for the offence of capital murder.

    If the legislation doesn't allow for the defence that a person was unaware the person was a Garda, that could be a possible avenue. He could possibly knock it down to a conviction of murder simpliciter on retrial.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,933 ✭✭✭tesla_newbie


    I confess not to understand the thinking behind the decision to trial him as psychologically fit but to me this seems like poor justice

    life in the central mental hospital was the right outcome here in my view



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,268 ✭✭✭MegamanBoo


    I had a read up on this when he was found guilty. It seems he was not found mentally fit, instead it was found there was reasonable doubt that he was insane. The verdict then defaults to guilty.

    For my two cents there's a serious flaw in that logic. I don't know if other jurisdictions do it better.



  • Registered Users Posts: 9,381 ✭✭✭Yurt2


    It does appear to be an inversion of the 'reasonable doubt' principle in criminal law, but it has been held up as lawful by the Supreme Court (I can't recall the case).

    Once the prosecution produced an expert witness that contradicted the defence expert witness as to his state of mind, the reasonable doubt that favours the prosecution is plain for the jury to see.

    Again, it does seem slightly perverse to have trial by expert witness, but state of mind and mens rea is a very tricky part of the law.



  • Registered Users Posts: 24,943 ✭✭✭✭Strumms


    Given the appeal was lodged so swiftly after the verdict and subsequent sentencing…. You have to presume that the defence team were working on a particular line of attack for the appeal in advance of the expected verdict…. of guilty + significant sentence….



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,958 ✭✭✭kirk.


    Seems on the face of it like there's possible lines of appeal



  • Registered Users Posts: 24,943 ✭✭✭✭Strumms


    Possibly.. be interesting to see, if it’s mental health related.. or something directly connected to an aspect of the trial..or new evidence or whatever….



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,922 ✭✭✭Andrea B.


    So sad for all sides.

    Hard to understand how someone recognised as having a bi-polar episode (sadly, I have seen a few), is considered in control of their judgement and decisions.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,317 ✭✭✭gameoverdude


    Too late for the guard and hid family. So sad for the murderer.

    Yet I agree they should have been in cmh well before this happened.



  • Registered Users Posts: 13,854 ✭✭✭✭Potential-Monke


    He might have got away with it if he got the gun, shot once and hit, and then left or stopped. But he kept shooting. That's what got him convicted in the end imo. Up to the second shot could have been a manslaughter charge. But going for the gun and then completing discharging it... none of us are the experts, none of us were part of the prosecution or defence, or jury, so we can only speculate. Seems appropriate to me.



  • Registered Users Posts: 51,652 ✭✭✭✭tayto lover


    Well he's now not a danger to the public and he'll get the same treatment in the prison as he'd have got in hospital.



  • Registered Users Posts: 39,745 ✭✭✭✭Boggles


    No he won't.

    A hospital can force treatment on someone, a prison can't.

    A prison for obvious reasons is not a mental hospital or equipped to deal with acute mentally ill people.

    The prison service have highlighted this fact again today.



  • Registered Users Posts: 51,652 ✭✭✭✭tayto lover


    Either way he's highly unlikely to walk out of a prison. Not so sure about the mental hospital.



  • Registered Users Posts: 39,745 ✭✭✭✭Boggles


    Probably not, but you never know what might happen in time.

    Doesn't help the prison service much though which was their overall point.



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,975 ✭✭✭Hangdogroad


    His arrogance and flippant answers while being questioned may also have had a bearing on it.



  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    I would guess if he killed a civilian he would have met the criteria of diminished responsibility



  • Registered Users Posts: 16,678 ✭✭✭✭nacho libre


    I viewed this as an indication of how addled his mind really was. He apparently believed he was going to be released the evening after it happened. He did not seem to grasp the gravity of the situation he was in. That to me suggests he was delusional rather than the learned impunity argument put forward by the Professor.

    Post edited by nacho libre on


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