Couple who allege they were victims of ongoing campaign of Garda harassment settle action

By Ann O'Loughlin

A couple who alleged they were subject to an ongoing campaign of Garda harassment and intimidation has settled a High Court action against the Garda Commissioner.

Stephen Costello (47) and his wife, Karen, from Woodstown Gardens, Woodstown, Knocklyon, Co Dublin had sued the Commissioner for damages for alleged trespass, intimidation and harassment.

In 2005 they obtained an injunction restraining any garda entering their home unless they had a warrant or were acting at the request of a member of the household.

The Commissioner, represented by Paul O'Higgins and Patrick McCann SC, denied the claims.

The case which was due to last for between four to six weeks was scheduled to commence today but was adjourned over an issue concerning medical reports.

Following talks between the parties. Alan Toal Bl told Mr Justice Denis McDonald the case was settled and could be struck out.

The Judge welcomed the settlement, which is confidential.

At the opening of the case, Mr Toal said the gardaí mistakenly believe Mr Costello had been "involved in the drugs trade," which counsel said his client was"most certainly not".

No drugs had ever been found on his client when searched by the Gardai, counsel added.

In a pretrial motion heard by the High Court in 2014, Mr Costello claimed gardaí began their alleged campaign of harassment against him in the 1990s. He claimed the alleged harassment caused himself and his wife considerable distress and affected his health, his ability to work and their family life.

He said he was first arrested in 1996 and questioned about stolen guns.

Mr Costello said after he got married, gardaí were constantly in the vicinity of his then home and often drove into the driveway of his house with the lights of the squad car flashing before driving off.

The alleged harassment he claimed continued after he and his wife moved to their current home in 2003.

He installed CCTV cameras around his property and obtained a High Court injunction against the Gardai.

Despite the injunction, he claimed he was subjected to further incidents of harassment from members of the Gardai.

He also claimed he was stopped, searched and strip-searched on other occasions.

The claims of harassment were all denied.

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