Monday 18 February 2019

Garda under investigation suspended from duty two days after indicating he wanted to make complaint against superiors, court hears

Pearse Street garda station
Pearse Street garda station

A GARDA was suspended from duty two days after he indicated he wished to make a complaint about two of his superiors, the High Court heard.

Garda Brian Canavan, stationed at Pearse Street in Dublin, was suspended from duty on May 23, 2014, for allegedly failing to prosecute cases in 2012 and 2013, two days after he had informed a Garda Inspector he wished initiate a grievance procedure against two other superior officers.

Represented by Mark Harty SC, Garda Canavan has brought proceedings aimed at halting an internal investigation into allegations he had breached garda discipline. He is also under investigation for an alleged criminal offence.

It has been alleged Garda Canavan failed to properly record items, failed to properly record illegal drugs or failed to properly record a drink-driving matter.

Mr Harty told the court his client has not been given proper and clear reasons for his suspension, on reduced pay, which has been renewed every few months. Counsel said the matter has not be investigated expeditiously.

It is claimed the apparent cause of the internal investigation arose after one of the superior officers Garda Canavan had initiated the grievance procedure against found some charge sheets outside his locker in April 2014.

Garda Canavan learned of this last May during the course of an interview conducted as part of the investigation into the criminal allegation.

Counsel said Garda Canavan was out on sick leave between December 2013 and May 2014.

Counsel said no explanation as to how the charge sheets were found, nor was he told when this matter was raised with the Garda Commissioner, or why it had taken a year before he was interviewed about the matter.

Counsel also said it appeared two different ranking gardai had been appointed to investigate the allegations.

It was entirely unclear which of the allegations are being investigated by which of the officers, counsel said.

Garda Canavan has remained suspended from duty ever since and claims the are an attempt to force him to quit the force.

He says this deeply unfair punishment is causing him personal upset.

In his action against the Garda Commissioner, he seeks various orders including one prohibiting the taking any further steps in the disciplinary investigation and that he has not been given proper reasons for his suspension.

He also seeks a number of declarations including that the Commissioner is guilty of inordinate and inexcusable delay in investigating the allegations against him.

Permission to bring the challenge was granted, on an ex-parte, by Mr Justice Richard Humphreys.  The judge made the matter returnable to a date in January.

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