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Kevin Sweeney - PhD Viva

Kevin Sweeney

Kevin Sweeney was awarded his Ph.D. today with minor amendments. Kevin’s thesis was entitled The Changing Nature Of Police  Interrogation in  Ireland. Kevin’s examiners were Professor Caroline Fennell (UCC) and Dr Ger Coffey. His supervisors were Prof Shane Kilcommins and Dr Eimear Spain. His thesis examines the role of investigative interviewing in the Irish criminal justice system. Investigative interviewing covers all aspects of speaking to persons, in the course of a criminal investigation, to obtain from them all pertinent information that he or she may have in his or her possession. Such investigative interviewing therefore also applies to the witnesses and victims of crime. He argued that a major paradigm shift occurred with the introduction of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 in Ireland. This Act created, for the first time, the legal architecture necessary to question those suspected of involvement in serious crime. He then examined the policing response to this changed paradigm. To evaluate the Irish interrogation model, two alternative models were examined in detail. The American Reid method is one where the investigator assumes guilt and seeks to persuade the suspect to confess. This method has been associated with incidences of false confessions where innocent persons have confessed to relieve the intense psychological pressure brought to bear on him or her. The PEACE method, on the other hand, was developed in England through psychological input. It seeks to avoid seeking confessions, seeking instead a full account with an open mind on the investigators part. This was the model adopted by An Garda Síochána, in 2014, known as the Garda Síochána Interview Model (GSIM).