Friday 23 February 2018

Gardai launch probe into leak of Sargent letters


Gardai have begun their inquiries into the source of the leaking of letters written to members of the force in Balbriggan station in north Co Dublin by former junior government minister, Trevor Sargent.

The investigation is focusing on those who had copies of the 10 letters before they were leaked.

Officers are expected to interview Mr Sargent and his constituent, Dominic McGowan, who was the subject of the representations made by the Green Party TD to the gardai.

They will also look at what access lawyers for Mr McGowan and court officials might have had to the letters during the court hearings that arose out of the row between Mr McGowan and his neighbour, Stephen Mulvany, that led to the two of them being charged with criminal offences.

Inquiries within the force will focus on members stationed in Balbriggan and at the garda command and control centre in Harcourt Square, where a garda involved in the investigation of the row was subsequently transferred.

A copy of at least one of the letters written by Mr McGowan was faxed by gardai in Balbriggan to the command centre for the notification of their transferred colleague.

The inquiries are being led by Chief Supt Michael Finn, of Cork, and Det Supt John McMahon, of the national bureau of criminal investigation.

As a result of the row at the Cardy Rock Close estate in Balbriggan, Mr McGowan was charged and convicted of threatening and abusive behaviour and fined €500 at Balbriggan district court on March 29 last year. He accepted his conviction and paid his fine.

But last Tuesday he lodged an official complaint with the Garda Ombudsman Commission. This related directly to the initial investigation and not to the leaking of information.

Irish Independent

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