Wednesday 21 August 2019

Garda selected for an early Westlife line-up guilty of cocaine possession

Early days: Michael Garrett (back right) when he was in IOU with (left-right) Graham Keighron and the boys who became Westlife superstars – Mark Feehily, Kian Egan and Shane Filan.
Photo: GreenGraph
Early days: Michael Garrett (back right) when he was in IOU with (left-right) Graham Keighron and the boys who became Westlife superstars – Mark Feehily, Kian Egan and Shane Filan. Photo: GreenGraph

Tom Tuite

A garda with 15 years' service, who was in an early Westlife line-up, was caught in possession of cocaine after he was stopped and searched in Dublin, a court has heard.

Michael Garrett (39), with an address at Orchard Lane, Strandhill Road, Co Sligo, appeared before Dublin District Court yesterday.

He had been charged with unlawful possession of cocaine at Tritonville Avenue, Sandymount, Dublin 4, on August 26, 2018.

The case was listed for him to indicate how he would plead.

Garda Inspector Michael McNulty, from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI), was present to give evidence.

However, the case did not have to go to a full trial after counsel told Judge Patricia Harney his client was pleading guilty to the charge.

Michael Garrett in his Garda uniform
Michael Garrett in his Garda uniform

At district court level, the offence can result in a fine and a prison sentence of no longer than 12 months.

Dressed in a dark suit, Garrett sat at the front of the public gallery as the facts of the case were outlined.

Insp McNulty told Judge Harney on the date of the offence Garrett had been stopped under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

During a search, a bag containing 1.6 grammes of cocaine was found, Insp McNulty said, adding that it was worth approximately €100.

He told the court Garrett had no prior convictions. "He has never come to attention in his career dating 15 years in the organisation," he said.

Garrett remained silent during the hearing and was not required to give evidence.

Judge Harney asked how old the accused was, and was told that he was 39.

Counsel said those were the facts of the case and he asked for time for medical reports on Garrett to be prepared, which he said could take some time.

The barrister said Garrett had an appointment later this week with his GP.

He asked for an adjournment for a medical report to be ready and a plea of mitigation at the next hearing.

Noting the guilty plea, Judge Harney granted the application and ordered the accused to appear before the court again on November 4 for his sentencing hearing.

Garrett was arrested following an intelligence-led operation by the NBCI, which is currently the main body tasked with investigating suspected criminal offences by Garda members.

Following his arrest, Garda headquarters said that Garrett, who was not named at the time, was suspended from duty pending the outcome of the investigation.

Sources last night said that Garrett, who is stationed at Pearse Street garda station in the south-inner city of Dublin, was "well regarded" by his colleagues and had a good record within the force.

Garrett had been a member of the boy band IOU when Louis Walsh signed a number of its members in 2000.

This included Shane Filan, Kian Egan and Mark Feehily who later formed Westlife, but Garrett did not make the cut.

He later attended the Garda Training College, Templemore, graduating in July 2005.

He was later posted at Pearse Street garda station where he was working as a community policing officer up until his arrest.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News