Garda to stand trial over claims of forged letter

Friday 24 May 2013 22.30
Garda Catherine McGowan was ordered to appear again on 19 July
Garda Catherine McGowan was ordered to appear again on 19 July

A garda is to stand trial accused of using a forged letter purporting to be from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in connection with a criminal investigation.

Catherine McGowan, 46, who is attached to a Co Wicklow garda station, appeared at Dublin District Court.

She is charged with using a false instrument at Bray Garda Station in Co Wicklow on 21 June, 2011.

The details of her arrest, charge and caution were contained on a certificate, which was furnished to Judge Victor Blake by a garda sergeant.

Her charge states that it is alleged that on 21 June, 2011, she used a copy of a letter from the office of the DPP dated 14 January, 2009, "which was, and which you knew or believed to be, a false instrument with the intention of inducing another person to accept it as genuine and by reason of so accepting the said instrument to do some act or to make some omission, to the prejudice of that or any other person".

A conviction for this type of offence can result in a fine and/or imprisonment for a term of up to ten years.

The officer, who is from west Dublin, has not yet entered a plea to the charge.

During the hearing, State solicitor Tom Conlon told Judge Blake that the DPP has directed that Garda McGowan is to face trial on indictment.

This means her case will go before a judge and jury at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

The prosecution lawyer asked for an eight-week adjournment during which time a book of evidence is to be drafted.

Defence solicitor Andrew Freeman said there was consent and Judge Blake extended time for the book of evidence to be served on the garda.

She was ordered to appear again on 19 July.