A GARDA has been convicted of insurance fraud after claiming that his car had been stolen.
But Paul Fogarty (27), who is based at Dundrum Garda Station, was cleared of harassing garage owner Christopher Kelly and his father Patrick after a dispute arose over crash repairs carried out on the officer's car.
The jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court returned its verdicts on day five of the trial after three hours of deliberation.
Fogarty cried when the not-guilty verdicts were returned 30 minutes before the jury came back with the guilty verdict.
The court heard that Fogarty had bought a Toyota Celica for €19,000 in May 2007 and had taxed it for third-party fire and theft with Quinn Direct.
He crashed the car in a single-vehicle collision in January 2008 on the M50.
He later took it to Mr Kelly's garage in Trim, Co Meath, for repairs and paid €5,000 in advance for the work.
Mr Kelly told Melanie Greally, prosecuting, that he returned the vehicle to Fogarty in November 2008 but he was not happy with the repairs.
Mr Kelly said he then received approximately 600 threatening and offensive text messages from Fogarty over a number of months.
He described the messages as offensive and threatening and said Fogarty told him at one stage he would break his legs and kick his parent's door in.
Mr Kelly told the jury that he was then forced to recruit a person to steal a Celica of a similar model and spec to Fogarty's car so he could fit the parts to the accused's vehicle.
The witness agreed with Breffni Gordon, defending, that he has served a jail term for handling and possessing stolen vehicles after his garage was raided by gardai in April 2009.
But Mr Kelly denied a suggestion from counsel that he had reported the alleged harassment to gardai as "leverage" when he was caught with the stolen cars.
He told Mr Gordon that, in April 2009, he met with Fogarty and arranged for the Celica to be stolen from outside the officer's grandparents' home when requested to do so.
Former Quinn Direct employee Patricia Treacy said Fogarty told her in April 2009 that his car had been stolen after he made an insurance claim for the Celica.
She said Fogarty told her that the car had been stolen from outside his grandmother's house. He said the Celica had never been involved in a crash and was in good condition.
Ms Treacy said Fogarty accepted a cheque for €10,254.15 on April 15, 2009.
Judge Sarah Berkeley remanded Fogarty on continuing bail for sentencing next month.