News Irish News

Sunday 19 January 2020

Gardai get court order to block probe

Sean O'Leary
Sean O'Leary
Claire Delaney
Alan Conlon
Eoin Murtagh

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

AN internal investigation into four gardai acquitted of assaulting a teenager in Dublin has been dropped after the officers brought legal action to prevent it going ahead.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan agreed to discontinue the probe into alleged breaches of discipline after the gardai brought High Court proceedings aimed at preventing the internal inquiry.

Following their high-profile acquittal, the four were told in October to provide a report to a senior ranking colleague.

Gardai are obliged under laws introduced in 2005 to provide an account of their conduct if they are being investigated. Failure to do so can lead to dismissal.

It is the first time that the provision has been challenged in the courts.

Conceded

It is understood that the commissioner conceded the orders given to provide a report were not made in line with garda procedures.

The gardai at the centre of the case -- Alan Conlon, Eoin Murtagh, Claire Delaney and Sean O'Leary -- were all cleared of charges last year.

They had been accused of assaulting then 18-year-old Owen Gaffney while his mother was locked in a bathroom at their home in Basin Street in February 2008. All had pleaded not guilty.

A jury unanimously cleared all four gardai of forced entry and trespass and also found Gda Conlon, Gda Delaney and Gda Murtagh not guilty of false imprisonment.

The 25-day trial is believed to have cost more than €500,000.

All four gardai had been suspended from the force after the complaint was made.

But following the acquittals, they returned to their duties.

Last October, the four were informed that a garda chief superintendent had been appointed by Mr Callinan to investigate alleged breaches of discipline by them.

Within weeks, the four gardai brought High Court proceedings to stop the probe.

They claimed that without being informed what was under investigation or given any details of the alleged breaches of discipline, they were directed to provide a report. They claim that this was unfair.

Mr Gaffney, who is currently serving a three-year sentence, claimed that the gardai came to his flat and assaulted him while he was sleeping.

He claimed three of the gardai kept his mother in the bathroom while he was being assaulted.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News