'Rape-tape' gardai cleared by watchdog
TWO gardai at the centre of the 'Mayo rape-tape' controversy are to escape criminal prosecution and will receive only minor disciplinary sanctions.
An interim report from the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) yesterday cleared three of the five gardai who were in a garda vehicle when jokes were made about raping and deporting two women who had been arrested at a Corrib oil pipeline demonstration in Co Mayo on March 31.
The report found that evidence exists that the tape had been tampered with before being given to investigators.
A recording of the conversation between a sergeant and a junior garda was captured on a camcorder seized from one of the women, Jerrie Ann Sullivan.
The Ombudsman's report finds that because Ms Sullivan and her fellow protester who has never been identified were not in the vehicle at the time, they were not personally threatened with being raped or deported.
The women only found out about the comments when they listened to the tape after they were released.
A spokeswoman for Ms Sullivan told the Irish Independent last night she was "really disappointed by the report".
"She is disappointed with the comments about tampering with the tape," she said, adding that Ms Sullivan didn't want to comment further at this stage.
The commission report finds that that there is no evidence of any criminal offence having being committed by any of the gardai and that there was no evidence of any breach of discipline by three of the five gardai.
All the gardai concerned were moved to desk duties in Castlebar following the emergence of the tape.
It is understood three officers will be allowed to return to regular duties, while the two gardai who were found to have made the comments will remain on desk duties until a final report is submitted to the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.
Mr Callinan was forced to apologise on behalf of the force in the wake of the comments.
A garda spokesman last night declined to comment as the matter was still being dealt with by the GSOC.
Shell to Sea rejected the commission's findings that a number of files on the tape were deleted and overwritten.