Saturday 25 October 2014

Robbie Keane's garda father-in-law has disciplinary sanctions on him quashed by High Court

Published 26/03/2014 | 16:59

Sergeant Denis Palmer

THE garda father-in-law of footballer Robbie Keane has settled his High Court challenge against a finding that he failed to provide medical treatment for a man in police custody.

The action was brought by Sergeant Denis Palmer who today had a number of disciplinary sanctions, which had been imposed on him, quashed by the High Court.

The matter is also to be remitted for further consideration by a senior garda officer.

Following an investigation by the Garda Ombudsman, Sgt Palmer was found guilty by the Garda Commissioner  of three breaches of  disciplinary regulations.

The alleged breaches arose out of the detention of a man at Harcourt Garda Station on September 26/7, 2009.

In proceedings against the Garda Commissioner, the State, and the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC), Sgt Palmer sought to have the findings and sanctions against him quashed claiming they were an unfair blemish against his good name and reputation.

Sgt Palmer, currently stationed at Pearse Street, claimed that during the course of the investigation the Commissioner and GSOC denied him fair procedures, and breached his rights, by failing to allow him make submissions on the GSOC report. 

Today Ms Justice Iseult O'Malley was informed the proceedings had been settled.

Michael O Higgins SC, for Sgt Palmer, told the court that it had been agreed the sanctions imposed on his client are to be quashed.

It was further agreed that a Garda Superintendent will be appointed to decide if the evidence contained in a GSOC report shows that Sgt Palmer breached garda discipline.  The superintendent will also invite submissions from Sgt Palmer before arriving at any decision.

Sgt Palmer was also given the costs of his proceedings against the Garda Commissioner. 

Sgt Palmer was alleged to have breached discipline after a man was arrested and detained for public order offences on Sept 26, 2009. The man had become violent at a city centre hotel after allegedly taking a controlled substance.

The man was found in an unconscious state on a Dublin street some three hours after being released from garda custody. Sgt Palmer was the member in charge of Harcourt Terrace Station on the date in question. 

A GSOC report on an investigation into the matter found Sgt Palmer may have been in neglect of duty over the man's detention.

It was alleged Sgt Palmer failed to summon, obtain or provide medical assistance to the man. It was also alleged he failed to record calls requesting, and later cancelling, the attendance of a doctor at the station while the man was in custody. 

Last July Sgt Palmer was informed that he had been found guilty of the three breaches and was sanctioned. He received a caution for allegedly failing to provide medical assistance to the man and warnings for the other breaches. 

In his action Sgt Palmer claimed he was never given sight of the contents of Ombudsman's report before it was sent to the Garda Commissioner for consideration.

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