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High Court challenge taken by Assistant Garda Commissioner adjourned for a week

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John Fintan Fanning was suspended on January 3 last

John Fintan Fanning was suspended on January 3 last

John Fintan Fanning was suspended on January 3 last

A High Court challenge taken by Assistant Garda Commissioner John Fintan Fanning aimed at overturning his suspension from duty pending the outcome of an investigation has been adjourned for a week.

Last week Assistant Commissioner Fanning initiated his High Court action over his suspension, pending an investigation by the by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission,  on January 3rd last.

He says his suspension is unlawful and unfair. 

In his proceedings, he wants orders lifting his suspension pending the outcome of his challenge, restraining the Commissioner communicating "false" information concerning him and directing the Commissioner to co-operate with the GSOC investigation. He is also claiming damages.

The court previously granted his lawyers permission to serve short notice of his proceedings against the Commissioner.

The matter was briefly mentioned before Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds at the High Court on Tuesday morning, who following a request from both sides agreed to adjourn the matter for a week.

Shane Murphy SC for the Garda Commissioner said his side needed time in order to prepare a sworn statement in reply to the Assistant Commissioner's claims.

Paul McGarry SC for the Assistant Commissioner said his side was consenting to the matter going back for a week.

Last week Mr McGarry SC told the court the suspension was in "flagrant breach of fair procedures" and Garda rules is also very concerned about the manner in which his suspension was "leaked" to the media.

Mr Fanning is due to retire in August after almost 39 years in the force, has held several high-profile posts, including chief superintendent of the Dublin South Central Division and regional commander for the Northern and Eastern Regions.

He said in a sworn statement that he became aware on December 3rd GSOC had received a protected disclosure made by a rank and file Garda and he was asked by GSOC to provide certain information within 30 days.

The Assistant Commissioner provided that by December 20th and that same day GSOC served a notice stating it had received a complaint under the Protected Disclosures Act and had commenced a public interest investigation.

The notice informed him the complainant Garda alleged that on a date in November 2017, he was contacted directly by another Garda officer and told he was no longer on a specialist firearms course following an intervention by Mr Fanning.

The second allegation concerned an incident in December 2017 involving an assault and the Garda claimed he was the victim in the incident. 

The complainant claimed he was initially placed on restricted non-confrontational duties and later served with the force's disciplinary documentation. He claimed he was suspended from duty, following a recommendation by Mr Fanning, and treated as a suspect.

He rejects all allegations of wrongdoing and was taken aback by the claims.

He said he had no role in the selection process for the firearms course but had reported concerns by various officers a Garda who had not passed the course selection process was intending to attend it.

He said the complainant's second allegation referred to an investigation into an allegation the complainant Garda had been involved in an assault on a female at a hotel.

His own involvement was in the usual way of managing the file and forwarding it to his superiors, including his recommendation the Garda be suspended.

He had no concerns whatsoever about the probity of his role.

Online Editors