Tuesday 28 March 2017

Garda Commissioner's decision to dismiss member who admitted stealing €600 to be challenged

Judge's gavel
Judge's gavel

Aodhan O Faolain and Ray Managh

The Garda Commissioner's decision to dismiss a member of the force after he admitted stealing €600 from a Garda Social Club is to be challenged in the High Court.

The court was told today that Wayne Hoban, of Kingscroft, Camas Road, Cashel, Co Tipperary, was dismissed from An Garda Siochana earlier this year in respect of two cheques he cashed at a bank in Carrick on Suir in 2012 and 2014.

Hoban had subsequently admitted he falsely signed the cheques in the names of other gardai with the intention of using the money for his own financial gain. The cash was the property of the Carrick on Suir Garda Social Club.

Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan heard that the Garda Commissioner informed Hoban by letter last April that he had committed four breaches of Garda Disipline Regulations and was therefore guilty of discreditable conduct.

Hoban claims the Commissioner’s decision was unfair and seeks to quash the decision to dismiss him.  He also seeks declarations that the Commissioner's decision was outside her powers and in breach of natural and constitutional justice.

The court heard that when serving as a Garda it had been alleged Hoban had on December 3rd 2012 and April 22nd 2014 committed the offence of theft of €350 and €250.  He had subsequently admitted the charges before a sitting of Carrick on Suir District Court but these had been struck out after he made a payment of €1500 to the poor box.

Arising out of the same incident Hoban had subsequently been told he had breached Garda Discipline Regulations, namely four counts of discreditable conduct and that his dismissal was being recommended.

Mark Harty SC, counsel for Hoban, said Garda Hoban was notified of his dismissal in June. He said the challenge was being brought on the basis he had not been notified that a disciplinary investigation into the mattes had been commenced.

Mr Harty said the Commissioner was relying solely on the fact his client had pleaded guilty as an alternative to an inquiry into his conduct which the Commissioner was not entitled to do.

The Commissioner had failed to provide proper and adequate reasons for her decision to recommend Garda Hoban's dismissal and had failed to have regard for circumstances giving rise to the guilty plea before the District Court, the court was told.

Mr Harty said an alternative sanction should have been considered.

Permission to bring the legal challenge was granted, on an ex parte basis, by Judge Henegha who adjourned the matter to a date in November.

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