GARDAI being investigated by the Ombudsman over evidence they gave against a colleague in an assault case will remain on duty throughout the inquiry, the Irish Independent has learned.
The Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) announced a public interest investigation into four gardai yesterday.
Garda Drew Morgan was jailed for three months at Dundalk District Court last Friday for assaulting a man in custody at his station two years ago.
He is appealing the case.
The Ombudsman's office said it wants to examine evidence given by colleagues in light of comments made by Judge Alan Mitchell when jailing Morgan for three months.
The prosecution case against the garda was brought after a complaint to the ombudsman by Derek Bradley, who claimed he was rammed against an office radiator at Drogheda garda station by Morgan after his arrest on suspected drink driving in February 2011.
Mr Bradley (35) said Gda Emma Payne, Gda Padraig Keegan, Sgt Fergal O'Toole and a garda reservist were in the small office at the time the incident took place.
The court heard none of them had seen the incident where Gda Morgan had assaulted Mr Bradley.
Judge Mitchell said he found the evidence "disturbing to say the least" where gardai had "looked away at that moment and were not seeing or hearing".
He added: "It brings to mind 'see, speak and hear no evil'."
The GSOC said yesterday it has opened a public interest investigation under section 102(4) of the Garda Siochana Act, 2005, following the case.
The statement said: "It appears to the Ombudsman Commission that an investigation is merited to determine if any of these garda witnesses (including reserve gardai) committed an offence(s) and/or an act(s) of indiscipline in his/her provision of evidence under oath or in preparing to give evidence at trial."
The organisation said it had powers to launch such an investigation without receiving a complaint if "any matter that appears to it to indicate that a member of the Garda Siochana may have committed an offence or behaved in a matter that would justify disciplinary proceedings."
Sources say the four gardai will continue with their duties whilst the investigation takes place.