Gsoc to investigate Garda treatment of civil employee over sick notes

Gsoc to investigate Garda treatment of civil employee over sick notes

The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc) has opened a public interest investigation into the prosecution of a brother and sister for allegedly producing false sick notes.

The investigation follows an unprecedented referral from the Policing Authority to Gsoc on foot of concerns about media reports of the case of Lynn and Tony Margiotta. This is the first time the authority has used its power to refer a matter to Gsoc for a public interest investigation.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris was repeatedly asked about the matter at private Policing Authority meetings between March and May this year, before the Authority decided a full investigation was required.

Civilian Garda employee Lynn Margiotta was arrested in August 2014 over allegedly producing false sick notes.

Three weeks previously, she had begun making a formal complaint of bullying against a sworn member in the Dublin garda station where she worked. She has always maintained that the prosecution was directly related to her complaint.

The trial of the siblings at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court collapsed in March following a ruling that Ms Margiotta’s rights had been breached in the investigation.

  • As reported in the Irish Examiner, disturbing elements of the case included:

  • Ms Margiotta was arrested by gardaí from the station where she worked contrary to normal policy;
  • The arrest occurred three weeks after she began the process of lodging a bullying complaint against a sworn member;
  • She was arrested a second time a year later, despite no new development in the case;
  • Her right to a solicitor in custody was not provided;
  • Her private medical records were accessed illegally;
  • An expert report commissioned by the gardaí which undermined their case against Tony Margiotta was not disclosed to him.

In a letter to Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins, the chief executive of the Policing Authority, Helen Hall, confirmed the matter was being investigated. She noted it was raised with the commissioner after a report that the trial had collapsed.

“There were further discussions with him regarding this matter at the Authority meetings on 18 April and May 24, 2019,” said Ms Hall. “As the Policing Authority had a number of residual questions arising from information in the public domain and it has no statutory investigate or enquiry powers, it decided at its most recent meeting on 6 June, 2019 to refer the entire matter to the Garda Siochána Ombudsman Commission.”

Lynn Margiotta welcomed the development, but said it was coming late in the day.

“My family have lived with this for nearly five years now,” she told the Irish Examiner. “For most of that time I wasn’t even paid my wages from my employer.”

Mr Collins said the circumstances of the case were very disturbing.

“The information now in the public domain following the collapsed trial fundamentally undermines confidence in An Garda Siochána,” he said. “I welcome the fact that Gsoc has opened an investigation in the public interest, having previously raised this matter in Dáil Éireann with the Minister for Justice.”

More on this topic

No longer glass ceiling for women in Garda, anniversary event toldNo longer glass ceiling for women in Garda, anniversary event told

'We have more to do' says Harris as 60th anniversary of first women joining gardaí commemorated'We have more to do' says Harris as 60th anniversary of first women joining gardaí commemorated

€48m spent on garda overtime so far this year€48m spent on garda overtime so far this year

Gardaí investigating 'deliberate attack' which left man with blade embedded in his sideGardaí investigating 'deliberate attack' which left man with blade embedded in his side

More in this Section

Man accused of scamming two elderly people out of €330,000Man accused of scamming two elderly people out of €330,000

Ireland ‘in grip of sexual violence crisis’; Rape Crisis Centre sees demand for services soarIreland ‘in grip of sexual violence crisis’; Rape Crisis Centre sees demand for services soar

Gardaí object to bail for manGardaí object to bail for man

Third of parents in debt to cover back-to-school costsThird of parents in debt to cover back-to-school costs


Lifestyle

This year heralds the return of a much-maligned shade, pulled from the design doldrums and now paired with some unexpected complementary colours, materials and tone-on-tone activity, writes Carol O’Callaghan.Fifty shades of beige

Their romance took Laura Roset and Ken Mohally from Mallow to Moldova and back again.Wedding of the Week: Love spreads from Mallow to Moldova

Every day, I take my wife a cup of tea in bed. However, we sometimes make love in the mornings and she pauses to finish her cup before it goes cold.Sexual healing: Her long tea breaks cools the moment

As the Caped Crusader hits 80 years of protecting Gotham City, Chris Wasser looks at the history of the world’s darkest superhero.80 years on, Batman still packs a punch

More From The Irish Examiner