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Top garda and brother are cleared to sue State

A GARDA Chief Superintendent and his businessman brother may proceed with action for damages against the State, a judge has ruled.

Businessman Philip Smyth claims he risked his life meeting Dublin gangster Martin Cahill to help gardai recover stolen paintings.

He and his brother, Garda Paul, Smyth claim their reputations were damaged because gardai failed to properly investigate their complaints dating from 1988 about malicious phone calls to gardai, the UK police and others falsely alleging they were involved in serious crime.

Paul Smyth also claims this led to his being passed over for promotion to the rank of Assistant Commissioner numerous times.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Michael Peart dismissed a pre-trial application by the Garda Commissioner and the State to halt the case alleging it is doomed to fail.

Both brothers claim their case is exceptional on grounds including they had a special relationship with the gardai.


Philip Smyth said his assistance sometimes placed him in considerable personal danger. Paintings stolen from a judge's home were recovered due to his bravery, he claimed.

He claimed gardai asked him to demand a personal meeting with Dublin criminal Martin Cahill - who was later shot dead. Although gardai assured him no such meeting would happen, Cahill contacted him and they did meet, he claimed.

Mr Smyth alleged he was acting at all times under direction of gardai. He also claimed details of one operation were leaked to deceased journalist Veronica Guerin who wrote an article referring to a "Dublin hotelier" which, he claimed, was sufficient for criminals to identify him as having assisted gardai. Philip Smyth also claimed there was no proper investigation into anonymous false information given to gardai which lead to a search of his then premises, Sachs Hotel, Dublin, in September 1988.

Mr Justice Peart said it could not be unequivocally said the brothers' case was doomed to fail.