McGrail Inquiry: Top QCs fly in to Gibraltar in quest for truth over police commissioner’s shock retirement

A PUBLIC inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the sudden retirement of Gibraltar’s former police commissioner Ian McGrail will begin on Wednesday with two days of preliminary hearings.

A retired High Court judge as well as top barristers have flown in from the UK to take part in the inquiry which was set up at the request of Chief Minister Fabian Picardo in February.

McGrail announced he was retiring as Commissioner of Police in June 2020 after serving just two years of a four-year term without revealing his reasons behind the move.

Ian Mcgrail Rgp
Ian McGrail resigned midway through his term. Photo: RGP

The decision to retire early after 36 years with the Royal Gibraltar Police, provoked fierce speculation and questions in parliament with McGrail himself calling for the matter to be properly investigated.

Retired High Court judge Sir Peter Openshaw has been appointed to chair the Inquiry, to ascertain the facts and report to Gibraltar’s government, and spent time on the Rock during May for a ‘a familiarisation visit’ and to be sworn in.

Meanwhile two specialist QCs from London will be representing  McGrail during the inquiry after being appointed by his local legal team at Charles Gomez & Co Gibraltar Lawyers.

McGrail legal team have drafted in heavyweights Adam Wagner and Caoilfhionn Gallagher, both QCs at London’s Doughty Street Chambers.

Gallagher has acted in many of the leading human rights cases in the UK in recent years, including acting for bereaved families and survivors of the 7/7 London bombings and the Hillsborough disaster, while Wagner has been in the media spotlight with his scrutiny of the Downing Street lockdown parties.

Wagner And Gallagher
Adam Wagner and Caoilfhionn Gallagher are flying in from London. Photo: Doughty Street Chambers.

Gibraltar barrister Julian Santos, has been appointed as Counsel to the Inquiry and the Government has appointed Sir Peter Caruana QC, the former Chief Minister, to represent it before the Inquiry.

McGrail has welcomed the start of the inquiry insisting it was of ‘paramount importance in terms of the rule of law in an advanced European democracy such as is Gibraltar’. 

The two-day hearing will take place at the Garrison Library on June 22 and 23, starting at 10am, and.will deal with procedural and administrative matters and will also establish directions to progress the Inquiry.

A dedicated website has been set up to keep the public informed about the progress of the Inquiry.

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