Friday 23 March 2018

Face of garda who denies giving false statement to GSOC in 'bullet and underwear' case

Det Garda David O'Brien leaves the CCJ in Dublin. Picture: Damien Eagers
Det Garda David O'Brien leaves the CCJ in Dublin. Picture: Damien Eagers

Andrew Phelan

A detective garda has denied giving a false statement to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) during an investigation into claims that one of his colleagues was sent a bullet and women’s underwear in the post.

Det Gda David O’Brien told investigators he was not in contact with the woman who allegedly mailed the package, which also contained a Valentine’s card with an “unsavoury verse”, Dublin District Court heard.

Prosecutors maintain that phone records show the two were in touch at the time.


The package was posted to the workplace of Det Sgt Michael Buckley, of the “cold case” Serious Crime Review Team at the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation at Harcourt Square.

The complaint was made by his wife, Briege, who claimed Det Sgt Buckley was being bullied and intimidated and she felt the bullet was a threat to her and her two sons.

Mr O’Brien has pleaded not guilty to giving false or misleading information on September 10, 2012.

Tony McGillicuddy, prosecuting, said the accused in his statement said he had not been in contact with the woman for around 15 years.

The prosecution’s case was that there was contact on phones attributable to Mr O’Brien and the woman between February and March 2011.

Mrs Buckley told the court that her husband received the package on February 21, 2011.

He later located the woman who sent it, she said.

She felt she and her twin sons, aged 18, were under threat.

She said there was a garda investigation, but when she heard there was “no case to answer”, she complained to GSOC, alleging involvement by Mr O’Brien and another named garda.

She believed the “intimidation” originated because her husband made a complaint about “media leaks and financial irregularities”.

She feared that she “might be shot”.

The court heard Det Sgt Buckley had not made any complaint against the accused.

When interviewed by GSOC, Mr O’Brien denied any involvement in sending the envelope.

He said he knew the alleged sender through her father and had not spoken to her since the 1990s.

Around January 2011, he met her father and told him he was “working with a ‘p***k” – Det Sgt Buckley – who was “making my working conditions unbearable”.

He did not ask the man to do anything and did not know his daughter was going to send the card.


He said he had never threatened Det Sgt Buckley or his family but had made two bullying complaints about him and believed this was the motivation behind the GSOC complaint.

In his statement, Mr O’Brien said he had been in the force for 29 years and had an “exemplary record”.

Defence barrister Kathleen Leader argued that if there was any threat it was to Det Sgt Buckley, not his wife.

The court heard members of the force could not make complaints to GSOC.

Ms Leader pointed out that the envelope had been sent to Harcourt Square and Ms Buckley only saw it when her husband brought it home.

The trial continues.

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