Friday 23 February 2018

Keane father-in-law begins appeal against garda probe

Sergeant Denis Palmer was found guilty of breaching garda rules
Sergeant Denis Palmer was found guilty of breaching garda rules

Aodhan O Faolain and Ray Managh

THE garda father-in-law of footballer Robbie Keane has launched a High Court challenge against a finding that he failed to provide medical treatment for a man in custody who, following his release, was found unconscious.

The action has been brought by Sergeant Denis Palmer following an investigation by the Garda Ombudsman.

Sgt Palmer was found guilty by the Garda Commissioner of three breaches of garda discipline regulations following the detention of a man at Harcourt Street garda station in September 2009. Sgt Palmer wants the High Court to quash the findings and sanctions against him.

He claims in the course of the investigation the Commissioner and the Ombudsman denied him fair procedures.

He also argues the findings against him are an unfair blemish against his good name.

The court heard the man at the centre of the investigation was arrested and detained by gardai for public order offences.

Sgt Palmer was the member in charge of the station on the date in question. An investigation into the man's detention was conducted by the Garda Ombudsman. In a report it was held that Sgt Palmer may have been in neglect of duty in respect of the man's detention.

It was alleged Sgt Palmer failed to summon, obtain or provide medical assistance to the man. It was also alleged Sgt Palmer failed to record calls requesting and later cancelling the attendance of a doctor at the station while the man was in custody.

Last July, Sgt Palmer, whose daughter Claudine is married to the Ireland international, was informed he had been found guilty of the three breaches and was sanctioned.

Sgt Palmer's lawyers said that in breach of fair procedures he was never given sight of the contents of the Ombudsman's report before it was sent to the Garda Commissioner for consideration.

Sgt Palmer was not able to make submissions on the content of the report, which it is claimed contained errors of fact.

A request to be given sight of the report before the Commissioner made his findings was refused by the Ombudsman, it was claimed.

In his action against the Garda Commissioner, the State and the Garda Ombudsman Commission, Sgt Palmer wants the High Court to quash the findings against him. He also wants the sanctions quashed.

He further seeks a number of declarations including that the Commissioner and the Ombudsman breached his rights by failing to allow him to make submissions on the Ombudsman's report.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott granted Sgt Palmer permission to bring his challenge. The matter was then adjourned to a date in November.

Irish Independent

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