The supervisor of a garda accused of forging a letter from the Director of Public Prosecutions has told her trial that the garda told him she didn’t have the necessary skills to forge a letter.
Detective Inspector Frank Keenaghan said that he showed her the letter and “told her to go away and think about it for an hour, but she was adamant and said “I couldn’t have forged it”, to which I said I wasn’t accusing her of forging anything.”
Wicklow Detective Garda Catherine McGowan (aged 48), who is based at Bray Garda Station, has pleaded not guilty to one count of forgery on January 15, 2009 at Bray Garda Station and two counts of using a false instrument at Bray Garda Station and at Harcourt Street Garda Station between June 21 and 22, 2011.
The instrument is alleged to have been a letter from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), dated January 14, 2009.
The investigation of Gda McGowan’s handling of the case was prompted by the publication of the Murphy Report which investigated clerical sexual abuse in the Dublin area.
The priest in Gda McGowan’s case was one of the clerics mentioned in the report
The letter read: “Dear Sir, I (illegible) to yours. In (illegible) the statement of the complainant…could not possibly form the basis of a prosecution given that the complainant’s allegation of rape is only conjecture.”
Det. Insp Keenaghan told Alex Owens SC, prosecuting, that Superintendent Tom Conway informed him of the letter on April 6, 2011.
He then called Gda McGowan into his office and asked her what she knew about it.
He told counsel that Gda McGowan said the letter was a copy of what she had received from the DPP and that she had delivered a copy of it to the Murphy Tribunal herself.
Det Inspector Keenaghan said that he asked Gda McGowan to think about it, “because on the face of it, we were misleading the Murphy Tribunal, and this was now the time to talk about it and put things right.”
The trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, which is scheduled to last another week, continues before Judge Mary Ellen Ring and a jury of six men and six women.