Friday 15 November 2019

Garda sent for trial over ‘forged DPP letter’

Catherine McGowan could face 10 years in jail

Garda Catherine McGowan arriving at Dublin District Court today. Photo: Collins
Garda Catherine McGowan arriving at Dublin District Court today. Photo: Collins

A FEMALE Garda has been sent forward for trial accused of using a forged letter purporting to be from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in connection with a criminal investigation.

Catherine McGowan (46), who is attached to a Co. Wicklow Garda station, appeared at Dublin District Court this morning.

She had been charged in May under Section 28 of the Theft and Fraud Offences Act 2001, for using a false instrument, at Bray Garda Station, in Co. Wicklow, on June 21, 2011.

Her charge states that it is alleged that on 21 June 2011 she used a letter from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) dated January 14, 2009, “which was, and which you knew or believed to be, a false instrument with the intention of inducing another person to accept it as genuine and by reason of so accepting the said instrument to do some act or to make some omission, to the prejudice of that or any other person.”

A person found guilty of this type of offence can, on conviction, result in a fine and/or imprisonment for a term up to ten years.

State solicitor Michael Durkan told Judge Victor Blake yesterday (FRI) that there was a single count on the indictment and the DPP has consented to Ms McGowan being returned for trial to the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

The book of evidence had been drafted and was served on her during the short hearing.

The officer, who is from west Dublin and was wearing a grey suit and yellow blouse, has not yet entered a plea to the charge.

Judge Blake advised her that if she intended to use an alibi in her defence she must provide the prosecution with the details in writing within 14 days.

She spoke briefly during her court appearance saying “good morning” to the judge at the start of the proceedings and “I do yes” when asked if she understood the alibi caution.

The state solicitor also asked the judge to direct that copies of video evidence would be furnished to the defence.

Judge Blake then made an order sending Gda McGowan forward for trial and there was no objection to her being remanded on continuing bail in her own bond of €100.

Defence solicitor Sean Costello said his client was seeking legal aid and handed in a statement of her means.

However, Judge Blake said the decision on whether the officer would be entitled to it would have to be deferred. “I require a full certificate of earnings in this matter,” the judge informed Mr Costello who said there would be no difficulty in it being provided.

The garda then took up bail pending her next hearing which is scheduled to take place at the Circuit Court, in Dublin, on October 11 next.

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