Sunday 25 August 2019

Probe into claims garda destroyed witness statement relating to murder case to protect informant

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Garda Síochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) headquarters in Dublin

David Raleigh

Gardaí are investigating claims that a member of the force destroyed a witness statement relating to a murder case in a bid to shield an informant.

The probe has been going on for several months, sources said.

The garda at the centre of the allegations has not been suspended pending the outcome of the internal investigation, and the claims remain unproven.

It is understood the garda was not directly involved in investigating the murder, but it has been claimed they destroyed a witness statement given to them by an informant.

It is alleged that this was done in order to protect another garda source, who it's suspected was present when the murder victim was killed.

Gardaí are also investigating further claims that a second garda knew about the alleged destruction of the statement.

This garda is understood to be a person of interest in a separate internal garda investigation into allegations of further serious wrongdoing among members of the force.

Garda Síochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) headquarters in Dublin

Last March, after the allegations against the first garda surfaced, a complaint by a third party was made to the Garda Ombudsman Commission (GSOC), in accordance with the Garda Síochána Act, 2005.

GSOC determined the complaint was admissible under Section 87 of the Act and should be investigated in accordance with Section 98 of the Act, in other words a criminal investigation.

GSOC has been contacted and asked for a response.

The Garda Commissioner’s office has also received a complaint about the serious allegations.

In a signed correspondence dated last May, a spokesperson on behalf of a representative of the Commissioner stated these matters were “receiving attention”.

Separately, it has emerged that a complete review of the original garda murder investigation is under way.

“A peer review of this investigation has been established by the Chief Superintendent Divisional Officer,” a garda spokesperson said.

It is understood GSOC is awaiting the outcome of the internal inquiry, and, the investigation review, before beginning its own probe.

A source close to the family of the murder victim said they were “stunned” at the allegations.

However, they said they were “happy” the case was being fully reviewed.

Responding to a list of general questions regarding the internal inquiry, a garda spokesman replied: “An Garda Síochána does not comment on internal disciplinary matters.”

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