Man on trial for harassing a garda online is no 'Don Quixote character' - state prosecutor
A man on trial for harassing a garda online by accusing him of corruption is no “Don Quixote character”, the State has told a jury.
Sean Carraher (55) is accused of posting about 50 messages on the websites Rate-Your-Solicitor and Victims of the Legal Profession, alleging, among other things, that Sgt Conor Gilmartin had withheld evidence in a previous case involving the accused. Mr Carraher is also accused of making harassing phone calls to Sgt Gilmartin.
Mr Carraher told gardaí on his arrest that he was a “whistle-blower” who was using the internet to expose garda corruption.
In his closing speech, James Dwyer BL, prosecuting, told jurors they may see Mr Carraher as a Don Quixote type; a knight fighting a great and noble battle when in reality he was is in a dream-world and “tilting at windmills”.
“But this isn't a Quixotic tale of tilting at windmills,” counsel said, it was rather a case of Mr Carraher impacting and disrupting someone else's life.
Mr Carraher's defence counsel, Damien Colgan SC, put it to the jury that the internet postings were “the only way he could get back at people who are corrupt, who are conspiring against him.”
He said Mr Carraher believed he was exposing corruption which qualified as a reasonable excuse for making the posts.
Mr Carraher of Stradbrook Hill, Blackrock, Dublin has pleaded not (NOT) guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to harassing Sgt Conor Gilmartin between March 2009 and May 2011.
On Tuesday the accused gave evidence that Sgt Gilmartin had fabricated evidence against him in relation to allegations that he had harassed his estranged wife.
He also said the garda had launched a campaign of harassment against him which included repeatedly arresting him for breaching court orders relating to his wife and phoning him late on Christmas eve.
Mr Carraher admitted he made four phone calls to Sgt Gilmartin in quick succession but said this was because the garda kept hanging up on him. He said he couldn't remember if he called the sergeant a “lying bastard” but said he did lose his temper at times because of how he was being treated.
The accused said he was making the online posts to “make contact with people” and expose garda corruption.
Mr Dwyer referenced a post where Mr Carraher alleged Sgt Gilmartin was being unfaithful to his wife. He also raised a post in which Mr Carraher accused the sergeant of having a relationship with the accused's estranged wife.
Mr Carraher agreed that these claims had nothing to with garda corruption but that he posted it “because I heard it”.
Mr Dwyer asked Mr Carraher if he made a post which read: “Just a simple question, is there a paedophile ring operating from Shankhill garda station?”
“No I don't believe I did,” the accused replied before adding he had never seen the post before.
Mr Carraher's defence counsel told jurors that they may not like the accused but that they must consider if what he alleged about gardaí could “reasonably be true.”
Mr Colgan said if Carraher believed there was a campaign of garda corruption against him then he felt he had “reasonable excuse” to make the postings, which would mean he was not guilty under the legislation.
Mr Dwyer said in closing there was no evidence Sgt Gilmartin was corrupt but that this was irrelevant. Even if the garda was corrupt it would still be an offence, he said.
“Even if someone rang me everyday and said 1+1= 2, that would be harassment. It's the repetitive nature that's distressing.”
The trial continues on Wednesday when the jury are expected to begin deliberations after an address by Judge Patrick McCartan.