Sunday 25 August 2019

Probe into claims garda shredded statement of witness in murder case

Stock photo
Stock photo

Maeve Sheehan and David Raleigh

A detective attached to a Garda division at the centre of a corruption probe is being investigated over claims they destroyed a witness statement relating to a murder case, in a bid to shield an informant.

The murder victim's family have complained to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc) that the statement had been "shredded".

An internal disciplinary inquiry was launched several months ago, and an external Garda team has been assigned to review the investigation into the unsolved murder.

The latest allegations centre on claims a witness passed on new information to the detective about the murder of a young man in the locality more than a decade ago.

The detective is alleged to have withheld the information from the investigation team.

Garda management has appointed a new senior investigating officer to the case and team of three detectives have been reviewing the file. It may now be referred to the Serious Crime Review Team, which investigates cold cases.

The disciplinary inquiry occurred in the same division, but is not linked to, the separate corruption probe that resulted in the arrests of a detective, an inspector and a superintendent this year.

The probe into the alleged destruction of the witness statement 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 investigation, and the claims remain unproved.

It is understood the garda was not directly involved in investigating the murder. But it is alleged the witness statement was destroyed in order to protect another Garda source, who it's suspected was present when the victim was killed.

Gardaí are also investigating further claims 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 investigation into allegations of further serious wrongdoing in the force.

The Garda Commissioner's Office has also received a complaint about the allegations.

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 said: "An Garda Síochána does not comment on internal disciplinary matters."

Gsoc was contacted and had 'no comment' to make on the allegations.

Irish Independent

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