independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Garda gave DNA sample after arrest on sex assault claims

A GARDA arrested by the force's own watchdog over allegations of sexual assault on a woman has given a DNA sample and been released.

This is the first time that Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission investigators have arrested a garda since it was established over five years ago.

The garda, in his 20s and based in the midlands, met members of the investigation team by appointment at Loughrea station in Co Galway yesterday.

The officer was released without charge yesterday evening after being interviewed about the rape accusation and providing a DNA sample.

It is understood he was arrested after he had earlier declined, on legal advice, to co-operate with the commission's inquiries.

The incident is alleged to have taken place little more than a year ago.

The allegation is understood to have been made to the commission by a woman, who had previously been under investigation by the garda. The officer has been suspended by the garda authorities pending the commission's inquiries.

A spokesman for the commission confirmed the arrest "in relation to an allegation of a criminal nature".

The complaint has been under investigation by the commission since it was lodged and the woman has already been interviewed.

The commission has powers similar to the garda force but had not previously made an arrest. In October another garda was suspended from duty after he was accused of raping a woman in his station. Investigating gardai arrested the suspect and questioned him about the incident, which allegedly took place in a small rural station in the western region.

A file is currently being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions, who will determine if criminal charges should be brought against the man.

Irish Independent

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