Wednesday 13 December 2017

Garda acquitted of assaulting teen won't face fresh investigation into incident, court hears

Tim Healy

A GARDA who was acquitted of assaulting a teenager will not be the subject of a fresh investigation into the incident, the High Court has heard.

Garda Brendan Dowling, who is stationed at Anglesea Garda Station in Cork City, launched a legal action against the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) after it decided to re-investigate him arising out of the arrest of a then 16-year-old boy in Cork in May 2012.

Following a GSOC investigation, Garda Dowling and his colleague Garda Fiona Sheehan were charged with assaulting the teenager, who was pepper sprayed while resisting arrest. 

Those charges were dismissed following a sitting of Cork District Court last January.   Both gardai had denied assaulting the youth.

However, following Garda Dowling's acquittal, GSOC informed him of its intention to conduct a fresh investigation into the matter.

Garda Dowling then commenced a High Court action aimed at halting the fresh investigation, which his lawyers said was a breach of fair procedures and was contrary to the principles of natural justice.

Today, Mr Justice Gerard Hogan was informed by Mark Harty SC, for Garda Dowling, that the matter had been resolved.

With the consent of both parties, the Judge made orders prohibiting GSOC from investigating Garda Dowling in relation the events of May 12, 2012, and quashed GSOC's decision to open a fresh investigation.

During the District Court hearing of the assault case against the gardai, Judge Olan Kelleher said that on the evidence, including CCTV, there was nothing to suggest that either officer had used their pepper spray in any manner other than in accordance with the law.

In his High Court action, Garda Dowling's lawyers argued that GSOC was acting outside of its powers and had failed to recognise that the DPP consented to a dismissal of the prosecution against both officers.

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