Monday 9 December 2019

Garda accused of harassment claims insanity

Donal Maguire Pic: Collins Courts.
Donal Maguire Pic: Collins Courts.

Sonya McLean

A Garda harassed a female sergeant by sending her a Valentine's Card, emails and a friend request on Facebook, despite numerous warnings from his superiors not to have any contact with her.

Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting, told a jury that the fact that Garda Donal Maguire harassed the married woman was not disputed.

But the jurors had to determine if he was suffering from a mental disorder at the time.

Garda Maguire (40), of Rock Road, Bundoran, Co Donegal, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to two counts of harassing the woman at a location in Dublin on dates between February 18 and March 11, 2012 and between August 1, 2012 and February 4, 2013.

Detective Superintendent Walter O'Sullivan said Garda Maguire first met the sergeant in 2011. He sent her a Valentine's Card in February 2012 and she spoke with him privately and told him that his attention to her was inappropriate, unwanted and unwelcome.

She believed that this would be the end of the matter but Garda Maguire continued to contact her through email via the garda pulse system.

She reported the emails to superior colleagues and Garda Maguire was disciplined and told not to contact her again.

Nevertheless, the emails continued, which resulted in his access to the pulse system being revoked.

Garda Maguire then turned up at the garda station where the female sergeant worked and specifically asked for her.

Three weeks later, he turned up at a garda 10km race in which she was running and was noticed by other colleagues to be staring at her. This was despite him having been told not to contact the woman.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that the harassment impacted on the woman's work and family life and caused her great stress.

She felt physically sick, annoyed and concerned on receiving the communications from Garda Maguire.

The sergeant was granted annual leave following the Facebook contact from Garda Maguire because her superiors believed that she was not in "a fit position to do her work".

Det Supt O'Sullivan agreed with Ronan Kennedy BL, defending, that Garda Maguire had difficulty understanding that what he had been doing was wrong and that he had been causing the woman stress.

The trial continues before Judge Elma Sheahan and a jury.

Irish Independent

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