Garda fails to halt inquiry over festival drug search
A GARDA has failed to stop disciplinary proceedings after he was acquitted on a charge of having drugs as he tried to get into a concert while off-duty, the High Court heard.
Garda Patrick Walsh, who has been in the force for 17 years and works in information technology at the force's headquarters in Dublin, sought orders restraining the Garda Commissioner from proceeding with a board of inquiry into alleged discreditable conduct arising out of the incident at the Electric Picnic concert in Stradbally, Laois, on September 2 2007.
Gda Walsh was charged with having 6.4g of amphetamine and was acquitted by Judge Gerard Haughton in the district court on November 26 2008.
Yesterday, High Court president Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns refused to grant him an injunction prohibiting an internal garda inquiry, as presently constituted, over the matter. Mr Justice Kearns said he would give his reasons later.
The High Court heard yesterday it was alleged in the District Court that Gda Walsh was stopped by security men at the concert and refused to submit to a search saying he was a garda.
It was alleged that when a struggle ensued between him and a bouncer, a bag containing the drugs was allegedly thrown and landed in a nearby bin. It was then allegedly retrieved by a security man.
Gda Walsh denied the bag belonged to him and when uniformed officers intervened during the incident, he was brought to the concert "drugs tent" where he refused to undergo a search after being directed to do so by a garda sergeant.
The possession charge against him was dismissed following an application by his lawyer at the end of the prosecution case in which 11 witnesses were called by the State.
The Garda Commissioner, who had directed that internal disciplinary proceedings be instituted against him before the court case, then ordered those proceedings to be continued.
It was alleged he breached discipline by refusing to submit to a drug search, of improperly using his position as a garda for private advantage, and of using insulting and abusive language after refusing to be searched. Another charge of discreditable conduct over alleged drug possession was withdrawn.
Gda Walsh then got leave to bring judicial review to stop the disciplinary process as presently constituted, claiming unfairness because it was based on a charge that had already been dealt with in court.