by Irvin Muchnick
Where we left things in coverage of the crowd-pleasing but overpraised podcast series Where Is George Gibney? is that this BBC Sounds / Second Captains production seems hellbent on simply tracking and embellishing, with exhaustive interview audio and a cheesy background soundtrack, the decades of inadequate historical reviews of the mainstream Irish media.
Repeat spoiler alert: As the Gibney sexual abuse cover-up and escape from justice unfolded, such reviews at the time did not include, and to this day still do not include, any reference whatsoever to the arguably most crucial data point. That is the fact that now-retired Supreme Court Justice Susan Denham (later the chief justice), who participated enthusiastically in the ruling that helped spring the Irish Olympic swimming coach in 1994, is the sister of Patrick Gageby, the barrister who argued Gibney’s case before the court.
This was the gist of my piece at Concussion Inc. eight days ago (https://concussioninc.net/?p=14585). The article was adapted and expanded four days later at the Irish alternative news site Broadsheet (https://concussioninc.net/?p=14600; https://www.broadsheet.ie/2020/09/17/irvin-muchnik-a-deeper-dive/).
For the benefit of those who read only the Concussion Inc. version, note that the Broadsheet version added: “Following the judgment, which led to a High Court judicial review which quashed all of Gibney’s charges, a number of applications on the basis of delayed complaint were made through the courts in Ireland, with [Patrick] Gageby managing to throw out charges against at least seven alleged child rapists on these grounds.”
But the expansions keep coming.
Later still, on the basis of a fresh tip — again, really just commonly known facts in Ireland — Broadsheet also inserted:
“What their father, the storied Irish Times editor Douglas Gageby, made of all this is not recorded. In fact, outside of a small court report in his old paper, the judgment was hardly noted.
Mr Gageby Jnr would later tell a legal conference in 2003 that he believed there was a ‘subversion of the presumption of innocence’ with historic sexual abuse cases.
Making him the perfect candidate, therefore, to be appointed in 2007, by your then Minister for Justice Michael McDowell, to review the case of Cynthia Owen and the ‘Dalkey House of Horrors’, which, of course, concerned … historical sexual abuse.
Mr Gageby’s review of the original, deeply flawed investigation did not recommend any further action be taken. And the beat goes on.”
(A biography of Douglas Gageby, who died in 2004, is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Gageby.)
Last year an Irish journalist, speaking not for attribution, told me, “It would have been defamatory in Irish law to imply that there might have been any influence exerted by the sibling relationship between the judge and the senior counsel.”
Which begs the question: Is it similarly verboten to “imply” that the Irish Times might have … soft-pedaled its duty to inform its readers that the fix was in for Gibney, because of high-level family ties?
If so, that’s what the First Amendment is for. I “imply.” You “infer.” It’s called connecting the dots.
My eighth grade science teacher used to say, “He who knows not and knows that he knows not is a child — teach him.” From the moment in January 2015 when I embarked on answering two questions about George Gibney, I have been that child. I wanted to know why the most notorious at-large sex criminal in the history of global sports was playing out the string in obscurity in Altamonte Springs, Florida. And I wanted to know who had sponsored and was continuing to enable his decades of safe harbor in America.
I knew what I knew, and I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I suspected that teasing out the Irish side of the story would involve, to some extent, cutting through layers of shame and outright blarney.
My science teacher also said, “He who knows and knows not that he knows is asleep — wake him. He who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a fool — shun him.”
Which one is Mark Horgan, the creator of Where Is George Gibney?
Oh, and not by the way: Gibney for the last two and a half years has been under investigation by the U.S. federal government. Whether anything will come of it depends largely on choices by powerful media players such as the BBC to amplify reporting so far found only at Concussion Inc.
The office at the Justice Department that is investigating Gibney is called the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS). The person at MLARS coordinating the probe is Jane Khodarkovsky, whose title is Human Trafficking Finance Specialist. https://concussioninc.net/?p=14173