Saturday 24 February 2018

Ex-detective awarded €85,000 over bullying by garda bosses

Tim Healy

A RETIRED garda detective has been awarded €85,000 in damages after a judge found that he had been subjected to bullying and harassment by his superiors.

William Browne (55), who retired last year after 33 years, had sued the Garda Commissioner and the Minister for Justice.

He claimed that from 2000 onwards, while stationed at Kilmainham garda station in Dublin, he was subjected to a campaign of intimidation and harassment.

Mr Browne said that it consisted of, among other matters, being banned from using a garda car for eight-and-a-half years; being deprived of a firearm as a detective; being subjected to false and unjustified disciplinary charges; and being defamed when he name was put on a controversial leaflet by someone else.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross, in the High Court, found that Mr Browne had been bullied in relation to several of 12 allegations.

Charges

One of the major investigations he was involved in was the murder of two young men in 1999 at the Grand Canal in Kildare. This involved Mr Browne being transferred to work at Naas garda station, the judge said.

A dispute arose between Mr Browne and his superintendent over an expenses claim that he submitted for work on this case and this led to him issuing a letter of complaint through his solicitor.

While this did not amount to bullying, the judge said it was a factor in relation to another incident which led to Mr Browne being refused permission to drive a garda car.

This arose after Mr Browne had parked an unmarked garda car outside Kilmainham station in September 2000 and the car was later stolen.

His superiors revoked his permission to drive saying he had been negligent in parking the car there when he should have put it in the garda station car park, although he said that park was full that night.

The judge accepted that Mr Browne's superiors were probably allowed, under garda rules, to revoke that permission and while this did not of itself amount to bullying, it became so because the revocation continued for eight-and-a-half years.

The judge awarded Mr Browne €55,000 for bullying and harassment, €25,000 for defamation and €5,000 in special damages.

Irish Independent

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