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Former Commissioner of Police charged with sexual assault

Archive image of former Commissioner of Police Ian McGrail together with his lawyer, Charles Gomez. Photo by Johnny Bugeja.

Former Commissioner of Police Ian McGrail has been charged with sexual assault on a female police officer while he was in post.

The charge was confirmed on Thursday afternoon by John McVea, a former Detective Chief Superintendent with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

Mr McVea was asked by the Commissioner of Police, Richard Ullger, to lead the independent criminal investigation as the Senior Investigating Officer.

Mr McVea also leads the investigation into an alleged data breach relating to a public inquiry into the circumstances around Mr McGrail’s early retirement.

“Further to information received, I was asked by the Commissioner of Police to lead an independent criminal investigation into an alleged sexual assault on a female police officer in 2018. The allegation was against the former Commissioner of Police Mr Ian McGrail,” Mr McVea said.

“Shortly before 7am this morning, Mr McGrail was arrested at his home on suspicion of Sexual Assault. He was taken for interview at New Mole House Police Station.”

“Following this interview process Mr McGrail has been charged with the offence of Sexual Assault and will appear before the Magistrates’ Court tomorrow, Friday 14th April. The alleged sexual assault happened at New Mole House Police Station while Mr McGrail was the Commissioner of Police."

“As the matter has now been charged to court, I am unable to expand any further.”

Mr McGrail will appear before the Magistrates’ Court on Friday at 10am.

STATEMENT

Mr McGrail’s lawyer, Charles Gomez, issued a statement to the press hours after the charge was confirmed.

“Mr Ian McGrail vigorously denies any wrong-doing and is committed to presenting his defence to the Court as soon as a trial is set down for hearing,” the statement said.

“He appreciates the seriousness of the allegations and the importance of a fair trial for all parties involved.”

“He has the right to be presumed innocent and will work tirelessly to ensure that his reputation and rights are protected throughout the legal process.”

“Mr McGrail recognises the sensitive nature of this case and the absolute need for respect and privacy for all involved and their respective families.”

“We ask that the public reserve judgment until the facts are presented to the Court. Our client deserves a fair and impartial trial, and we are confident that justice will be served in due course.”

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