Sunday 22 October 2017

Prior convictions not on Pulse

Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

SERIOUS crimes including armed robbery are not being updated on the garda Pulse system.

The startling revelation means that Irish courts are not receiving up-to-date information on defendants' criminal records.

The issue emerged at a district court hearing where a judge was initially told the defendant had no criminal record – only to discover from the probation service he had a number of prior convictions, including one for armed robbery.

Castlebar District Court was hearing the case against Graham Coughlan (26), with an address at Cois na hAibhinn, Tuam, Co Galway, who falsely collected money for the charity Pieta House with the aim of spending the funds on alcohol.

At a previous hearing, Judge Mary Devins was told Coughlan had no prior convictions.

However, a probation report yesterday revealed the accused had number of convictions.

Inspector Damien Flanagan told the court that gardai had not been aware of the previous convictions at the earlier hearing.

When Judge Devins asked the defendant if he had any previous convictions, he replied that he had one for armed robbery.

"That's a little bit relevant," said the judge.

Judge Devins expressed her concern that such a serious conviction had not been recorded on garda files. She added: "The State has fallen down very badly that they didn't know about this."

Judge Devins adjourned the case until November of next year for sentencing and requested that an updated probation report be supplied.

Irish Independent

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