Whistleblower Wilson loses legal challenge
Published 12/04/2014 | 02:30
GARDA whistleblower John Wilson has lost a legal challenge to disciplinary procedures brought against him over his off-duty attendance at a District Court hearing.
The High Court heard events in this case did not relate to Mr Wilson's departure from the force last year.
Mr Wilson, with an address in Cavan town, had challenged findings of May 2012 that he breached garda discipline in refusing to say why he attended a January 2012 special sitting of Virginia District Court in Co Cavan.
That case involved a long-running dispute between neighbours, dating from 2005, involving some 90 complaints to gardai and "numerous" investigations and files sent to the DPP.
Mr Wilson was at the courthouse on January 12, 2012, in the presence of Walter and Genevieve Smith, who were among four people from both sides of the dispute who were charged with harassment.
The District Court judge dismissed all charges, with voluntary undertakings given by all the accused and the spouse of one of them.
Garda Chief Superintendent James Sheridan expressed concern that Mr Wilson's presence, while off duty, could give rise to an apprehension of lack of impartiality on the part of the force in its role in that case.
In disciplinary action against him, it was found that, in neglect of duty, he failed to promptly reply to correspondence from his divisional officer in Cavan/Monaghan that he explain his attendance at the courthouse.
He was sanctioned by way of 'advice' and a 'warning' – the lowest and third-lowest level of sanctions under garda regulations.