Wednesday 24 January 2018

Garda challenges re-opening of disciplinary complaint filed by taxi driver victim of Jerry McGrath

Taxi-driver Mary Lynch from Kells, Co Meath
Taxi-driver Mary Lynch from Kells, Co Meath

Tim Healy

A GARDA has been given High Court permission to challenge a decision to re-open a disciplinary complaint against him in connection with an investigation involving murderer Jerry McGrath.

Padraig McEvoy, stationed at Ballyconnell in Co Cavan, is seeking to quash a decision of the Garda Siochana Complaints Ombudsman (GSOC) to re-admit a complaint  by taxi driver Mary Lynch against him as he says GSOC had previously, in October 2011, discontinued its investigation into that complaint. 

Ms Lynch was attacked by McGrath as she drove her cab in Virginia, Co Cavan, just a few months before he went on to kill 33-year-old Sylvia Roche Kelly in a hotel in Limerick in December 2007.  Garda McEvoy was involved in investigating the attack on Ms Lynch.

In April 2011, Ms Lynch complained to GSOC about the conduct of the garda investigation into the attack on her.  Ms Roche Kelly's widower, Lorcan, also made a complaint to GSOC.

Garda McEvoy claims GSOC is acting in breach of natural and constitutional justice by re-opening an investigation into a complaint that has already been investigated.   He says GSOC is also guilty of inordinate and inexcusable delay in notifying him of the complaint.

In an affidavit, Garda McEvoy says he submitted a full written defence to the alleged breaches of discipline and in October 2011, he was notified by GSOC its investigation into the matter had been discontinued.   The reason for discontinuance,  he said, was that GSOC has failed to give consideration as to whether the time limit for extending the complaint should be extended.

Garda McEvoy says that on May 17, 2012, he was  given a caution by a Garda Superintendent under the garda disciplinary regulations  arising out of his involvement in the investigation of the assault on Ms Lynch.

He says the complaint made by Lorcan Roche Kelly continued to be investigated and on January 3, 2012, he was cleared of any breach of discipline in regard to this complaint.

A couple of weeks later, on January 11, 2013, Ms Lynch made a further complaint against him arising from the same matter.

He says he was not notified of this new complaint until December 2 last and this came as a surprise to him.  He said: "I had been under the impression that this long running investigation into matters which occurred many years ago was completed and the matter closed."

Yesterday, Mr Justice Michael Peart granted Mark Harty SC, for Garda McEvoy, leave to bring a judicial review challenge to the GSOC decision.  The matter comes back before the court next month.

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