Solidarity TD Paul Murphy has claimed some gardaí committed perjury in the Jobstown trial after their evidence was contradicted by video footage of the protest at the site.
He made the allegation on his return to the Dáil after a 10-week absence due to the trial but said he will not take a case against officers “at this stage”, as the Government would use it as an excuse to not investigate conspiracy claims.
Mr Murphy said he believes officers gave incorrect evidence to the trial. He was speaking to reporters just hours after Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy said some gardaí should potentially face perjury charges over their evidence.
He said the issue amounts to perjury but said this should be investigated by a Government inquiry first in order to ensure wider conspiracy claims are also examined.
“I think perjury was committed by gardaí in this case. That is a criminal offence,” he said.
“Criminal prosecutions can be brought against gardaí in relation to that but, at this stage I’m not planning to go and make a criminal complaint of perjury because I think if you do that the Government’s answer the next day is to say ‘well we can’t answer any of those questions because there’s criminal investigations proceeding’.
“So our focus is on a governmental and political response.”
He repeated the claim in the Dáil, asking Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to publish legislation for a public inquiry into the alleged conspiracy to “stitch up” Jobstown protesters and claiming that garda trial evidence was perjury.
Asked by Mr Murphy “was the perjury in court by multiple gardaí acceptable?”, Mr Varadkar responded that what happened to then-tánaiste Joan Burton and her adviser Karen O’Connell was “very wrong” and “they were terrorised”.
Meanwhile, Social Democrats TD Ms Murphy said gardaí who gave evidence in the trial which was contradicted by video footage of the incident should potentially face perjury charges.
Asked about the decision to find Solidarity TD Mr Murphy and five other defendants not guilty of false imprisonment, Ms Murphy said in her view the charges were “misjudged”.
She dismissed Solidarity-People Before Profit calls for an inquiry and equally dismissed, as unnecessary, Fine Gael suggestions that new laws are needed to ensure social media comments do not pressurise jurors.
However, asked about the actions of individual gardai, Ms Murphy said further action may be needed to uncover what happened.
“We’re always looking at inquiries and tribunals, and things like that, but if you go into a court and tell lies, it’s called perjury,” she said. “And essentially, the justice system is required to capture that and it shouldn’t differentiate between who goes into the court and doesn’t tell the truth.
“Everyone should be held equal before the law, and that includes the gardaí.”
The gardaí involved in the Jobstown case insist their evidence is an accurate version of what they witnessed.
Solidarity-People Before Profit will again call for an independent inquiry at a press conference today.
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