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Robbie's garda father-in-law wins High Court battle

THE garda father-in-law of footballer Robbie Keane has settled his High Court challenge against a finding that he failed to provide medical treatment for a man in police custody.

The action was brought by Sgt Denis Palmer who yesterday had a number of disciplinary sanctions which had been imposed on him quashed by the High Court. The matter is also to be remitted for further consideration by a senior officer.

Following an investigation by the Garda Ombudsman, Sgt Palmer was found guilty by the Garda Commissioner of three breaches of disciplinary regulations. The alleged breaches arose out of the detention of a man at Harcourt Terrace garda station on September 26/27, 2009.

In proceedings against the Garda Commissioner, the State and the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC), Sgt Palmer sought to have the findings and sanctions against him quashed, claiming they were an unfair blemish against his good name.

Sgt Palmer claimed that during the course of the investigation the Commissioner and GSOC denied him fair procedures and breached his rights by failing to allow him to make submissions on the report.


Yesterday, Ms Justice Iseult O'Malley was informed that the proceedings had been settled.

Michael O Higgins SC, for Sgt Palmer, told the court it had been agreed that the sanctions imposed on his client are to be quashed.

It was further agreed that a garda superintendent will be appointed to decide if the evidence contained in a GSOC report shows that Sgt Palmer breached garda discipline. The superintendent will also invite submissions from Sgt Palmer before arriving at any decision.

Sgt Palmer was alleged to have breached discipline after a man was arrested and detained for public order offences on September 26, 2009. The man had become violent at a city centre hotel after allegedly taking a controlled substance.

The man was found in an unconscious state in a Dublin street some three hours after being released from garda custody. Sgt Palmer was in charge of Harcourt Terrace station on the date in question.

A GSOC report alleged he had failed to summon, obtain or provide medical assistance to the man and that he failed to record calls requesting, and later cancelling, a doctor.