Or as the Romans said “salvete”.
My father and uncle were keen that I should get a good education in my home country, so they handed me over to the nuns when I was four. Then I was educated by the Jesuits at my country’s leading grammar school. Dingle asked me if they were violent. I said no , but the nuns could punch their weight.
So the Jesuits taught me Latin. This has stood me in good stead. I recognise many Latin words in English. The lawyers are particularly fond of it. John Larkin never lets a paragraph go by with out a ‘bon mot’ or should I say a ‘verbum bonum’.
Why all this pretentiousness?
I had difficult questions for Dingle, my friend, part academic, part soldier, part philosopher.
Me: Dingle, the police exist to investigate crime?
Me: So all crime is investigated by the Police Service of Northern Ireland?
D: Not necessarily.
Me: What crimes would the PSNI not investigate?
D: If a police officer was alleged to have committed a crime.
Me: Who investigates that?
D: The Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland.
Me: Is he a policeman?
D: No , but he employs former policemen-and women.
Me: So they investigate the police who are alleged to have committed crimes?
Me: And if they think they have, what then? Does one of these police persons make a report?
D: No the Police Ombudsman makes a report.
Me: But he is not a policeman?
D: Quite so. They can recommend that the policeman is prosecuted.
Me: Who does that?
D: The Director of Public Prosecutions
Me: So he prosecutes policemen?
D: If need be
Me: So what happens if the Police Ombudsman thinks that the policeman should simply be reprimanded?
D: He reports to the Chief Constable, who decides on a punishment.
Me: What if the Chief Constable is reported as having done something wrong?
D: The Police Ombudsman investigates that
Me: So do these three people ever speak?
D: Yes , when the Police Ombudsman produced a very critical report on Loughinisland, the Chief Constable thought it was very good. Although when Mr Justice McCloskey said it was very bad, George said that he tended to agree with him.
Me: Is that it?
D: Oh no. The Police Ombudsman is investigating the Chief Constable as we speak.
Me: That must be embarrassing ?
D: Perhaps. You see, the Police Ombudsman investigated the man called Stake Knife but because there were lots of Brit Spooks involved [which he is not allowed to investigate] he gave the files to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Me: And he investigated it!
D: No he can’t he gave it back to the Chief Constable.
Me: And he investigated it!
D: No he can’t because the courts said that his force is biased in favour of the Brit Spooks, so he gave it to a man called Jon Boucher, the Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Constabulary.
Me: And his force investigated it!
D: noooo, he is acting with all the powers of the PSNI and his officers come from all arts and parts and he is being judicially reviewed because he works for PSNI.
Me: But apart from that one, there are no complications are there?
Me: Tell me!
D: Some of the Chief Constable’s former senior officers say that the Police Ombudsman’s report into Loughinisland was unfair towards them.
D: Audi alteram partem.
Me: Ah! so what did they do?
D: They judicially reviewed the report.
Me: How did the Police Ombudsman react to that?
D: Well, after he had removed the makeup, having appeared in a film about Loughinisland, he objected.
Me: And who won?
D: It’s not over yet.
Me: Why not?
D: The Police Ombudsman has employed the just resigned Director of Public Prosecutions to represent him in front of Mr Justice McCloskey, who many years ago , when he was a barrister, represented some police in a case similar to the one he is trying. Mr McCloskey’s father used to be deputy Director of Public Prosecutions. The just resigned Director of Public Prosecutions and his father before him used to represent SF/IRA people who wanted to kill policemen. The Chief Constable has said that the inquiry by the Police Ombudsman into his conduct will exonerate him. A man called Bryson has complained to the Department of Justice about the Police Ombudsman appearing in the film.
Me: Is that a crime?
D: No but it will have to be investigated.
Me: By whom?
D: By the Justice Minister.
Me: But there isn’t one.
D: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
At least I learned Latin in MY banana republic…..