Garda cleared of corruption over motorists' donations to charity
A garda has been cleared of corruption and deception following a six-day trial at Trim Circuit Court.
Father-of-two Mark Egan (38), who is stationed at Dunshaughlin Garda Station in Co Meath, had pleaded not guilty to three charges of corruptly preventing the issuing of fixed penalty notices to three motorists, one charge of corruptly getting another driver's summons struck out, and four charges of inducing the motorists to disclose credit card details with the intention of dishonestly making a gain by deception for another in October 2012.
The prosecution alleged the offences were committed in Ratoath, Dunshaughlin, Trim and Navan as the defendant was carrying out his normal road traffic duties. The motorists involved sanctioned credit card payments to the 3Ts suicide awareness charity totalling €190.
The court heard the drivers were happy to make the donations and in most instances offered to pay the same amount as the fines, but the garda told them that would be too much and suggested they donate half that amount.
At the time, the garda was raising sponsorship for 3Ts through a page on the mycharity.ie website as he planned to run the Dublin City Marathon that year for the charity.
The court heard that gardaí began an investigation following a complaint from a fifth driver to a garda superintendent.
In cross examination, Garda Egan denied any wrongdoing or abusing his powers of discretion. He claimed he only suggested a donation to the 3Ts charity after he had told the drivers they would not be fined or given penalty points.
He said the idea came to him after a driver complained he would rather pay €80 to charity than give it to the State.