Watchdog: Gardaí too slow to co-operate

The Garda watchdog has criticised members of the force for being “slow” and “less than optimal” in co-operating with an investigation which ultimately led to two gardaí being convicted for assault and another for attempting to pervert the course of justice.

The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) said yesterday some documentation it sought during an inquiry into allegations that a member of the public had been assaulted by gardaí in Waterford was obtained “at a very late stage” while some other documentation was not received at all.

It called on the Garda Commissioner to consider re-evaluating policy relating to the recording of calls to and from Garda stations.

In a report published yesterday on the case against four gardaí, the Ombudsman Commission said it was “a cause of concern” that documentation it sought but didn’t receive from An Garda Síochána was then produced during the course of a court trial by the defence, for some of the accused.

The case was the first prosecution by the DPP, following an investigation by GSOC, to result in custodial sentences for gardaí.

Garda Daniel Hickey was jailed for 18 months after being found guilty of assaulting Anthony Holness, 40, causing him harm, on the street in Waterford in Jan 2010. Hickey resigned from the gardaí after the trial at Waterford Circuit Court in 2011.

Sergeant Martha McEnery was found guilty of assault and was given a suspended four-month sentence.

Garda John Burke, who was operating the CCTV system in the station at the time and diverted a camera away from the parties involved for a few seconds during the assault, was jailed for a year for attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Another accused, Sergeant Alan Kissane, was found not guilty of assault.

Appeals taken by McEnery and Burke were both rejected by the Court of Criminal Appeal last year.

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