The Director of Public Prosecutions has decided not to seek a retrial in the cases of Nora Wall and Paul McCabe. The former Mercy nun and Paul McCabe had their convictions for rape quashed, four days after sentence was imposed, on the application of the DPP last July. The DPP was considering whether to seek a retrial. Today a spokesman for the Attorney General told the media that no retrial would be sought.
The Director of Public Prosecutions James Hamilton, had applied to have the convictions quashed mainly because of the fact that a key witness had been called to give evidence in the trial, despite his instruction that that the witness should not be called. However Ms Wall, who had received a life sentence, and Paul McCabe will not receive any apology. The Attorney General's spokesman said this does not arise because the convictions were quashed.
Nora Wall and her family have welcomed the news but say that a number of questions still remain to be answered. The family says they will not rest until the full truth emerges. The pair have always protested their innocence.
A series of communications blunders among State prosecutors led to a key witness who should not have been called giving evidence in the rape trial of former nun Nora Wall and Paul McCabe. In April 1997, when the DPP directed that Nora Wall and Paul McCabe should be prosecuted, he advised the Chief State Solicitors office to inform defence lawyers that one witness would not be called. The Chief State Solicitors Office, failed to tell the defence of the DPP's decision. The prosecuting counsel was advised of the DPP's direction but he forgot about it and advised that the witness should be called. At the trial he was not reminded of the DPP's direction by his junior counsel of the Chief State Solicitor's office. The Junior Counsel was new to the case and did not notice the direction. The people from the Chief State Solicitor's office at the trial did not include the original solicitor and they also failed to notice the direction.
The Gardaí assumed that the senior counsel had been in contact with the DDP and did not remind him of the direction. And the officer from the DPP's office who issued the original direction was on holiday during the trial and only realised what had happened when he heard of the controversial convictions and reviewed the file. The DPP's letter says that it is the first time in 25 years that this type of error has occurred. A number of procedural improvements are now being adopted.