Detective accused of forging letter was lying, says State

Lawyers for the State have told a jury that a garda on trial for forging a letter from the DPP was lying to the point of no return.

Wicklow detective garda Catherine McGowan, aged 48, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court 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 St Garda Station between June 21 and 22, 2011.

The instrument is alleged to have been a letter from the DPP, dated January 14, 2009, directing that there be no prosecution in a clerical child abuse case.

The State finished calling evidence yesterday and barristers for both prosecution and defence have completed their closing speeches to the jury.

Today, Judge Mary Ellen Ring will send the jury out to begin deliberations after she has addressed it.

Garda Sergeant Tony Brady told Patrick Marrinan, defending, he made exhaustive inquiries which failed to establish any link between the accused and the priest she had been investigating. Counsel said there was no link which might provide a motive for her to tell people in 2009 that the DPP had directed no prosecution against the cleric.

In closing the State’s case, Alex Owens told the jury that the accused had produced this forgery because she knew the investigation had not been handled correctly and she wanted to fool the people who were now looking into the case.

“The file had not been submitted to the DPP and she knew it,” he said. “She had been fibbing to various people, solicitors for the priest and the alleged victim, and leading them a merry chase.”

Mr Marrinan said in the defence’s closing speech that nothing suggested his client was anything other than diligent in handling of allegations against the priest.

He said that when her detective inspector, Frank Keenaghan, confronted her in April 2011 with what counsel said was the “sloppiest forgery you’re ever likely see”, she refused to take the “easy way out”. Mr Marrinan said: “He was offering her a deal — admit you’ve done wrong. You’re caught but here’s the easy way out. She said no, there isn’t an easy way out. She was told take an hour to think about it. She said ‘I don’t need an hour, I’ve done nothing wrong’.”

He put it to the jury that someone had a vested interest in making this investigation into clerical abuse allegation go away in 2009 and documents which would have assisted his client’s defence had gone missing.


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