High Court challenge to GSOC reopening garda probe

Monday 03 March 2014 20.23
GSOC re-opened its investigation into a garda
GSOC re-opened its investigation into a garda

A garda has brought a High Court challenge to a decision by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission to re-open its investigation into a complaint made against him in connection with a garda investigation concerning jailed murderer Jerry McGrath.

Padraig McEvoy, stationed at Ballyconnell in Co Cavan, is seeking to quash a decision of GSOC to re-admit a complaint by taxi driver Mary Lynch against him.

He claims GSOC had in October 2011 discontinued its investigation into that complaint and is not entitled to re-open the matter.

Ms Lynch was attacked by McGrath as she drove her taxi in Virginia, Co Cavan.

The incident happened some months before McGrath murdered 33-year-old Sylvia Roche Kelly in a hotel in Limerick in December 2007. 

Garda McEvoy was involved in investigating the attack on Ms Lynch.

In April 2011, Ms Lynch complained to GSOC about the conduct of the garda investigation into the attack on her. 

Ms Roche Kelly's widower, Lorcan, also made a complaint to GSOC.

In his High Court judicial review proceedings, Garda McEvoy claims GSOC is acting in breach of natural and constitutional justice by re-opening an investigation into a complaint that has already been investigated.  

He claims GSOC is also guilty of inordinate and inexcusable delay in notifying him of the complaint.

In an affidavit, Garda McEvoy said he submitted a full written defence to the alleged breaches of discipline and in October 2011 was notified by GSOC its investigation into the matter had been discontinued.  

The reason for discontinuance was that GSOC has failed to give consideration as to whether the time limit for extending the complaint should be extended, he said.

On 17 May, 2012, he was given a caution by a Garda Superintendent under the garda disciplinary regulations arising out of his involvement in the investigation of the assault on Ms Lynch, the garda said.

The complaint by Mr Roche Kelly continued to be investigated and on 3 January, 2012, he was cleared of any breach of discipline in regard to this complaint, he said.

A couple of weeks later, on 11 January, 2013, Ms Lynch made a further complaint against him arising from the same matter, he said.

He said he was not notified of that complaint until 2 December last and it came as a surprise to him. 

"I had been under the impression that this long running investigation into matters which occurred many years ago was completed and the matter closed."

Mr Justice Michael Peart granted Mark Harty SC, for Garda McEvoy, leave to bring a judicial review challenge to the GSOC decision. 

The application for judicial review was made ex parte (one side only represented) and the matter will come back before the court next month.