Garda wins challenge against watchdog probe

A Garda acquitted of assaulting a teenager will not be the subject of a fresh investigation into the incident by the Garda Ombudsman, the High Court has heard.

Garda wins challenge against watchdog probe

Garda Brendan Dowling, stationed at Anglesea St Garda Station, Cork, had challenged a decision of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission to reinvestigate him arising out of the arrest of a 16-year-old at a shopping centre in Cork City two years ago.

Following a GSOC investigation of the incident, Garda Dowling and his colleague Garda Fiona Sheehan were charged with assaulting the youth, who was peppersprayed while resisting arrest. Those charges were dismissed following the youth’s cross-examination before Cork District Court last January. Both gardaí denied assaulting the youth.

However, following Garda Dowling’s acquittal, GSOC informed him of its intention to conduct a fresh investigation. Garda Dowling then commenced a High Court action aimed at halting the probe, which his lawyers said was a breach of fair procedures and was contrary to the principles of natural justice.

Yesterday at the High Court, Mr Justice Gerard Hogan was told by Mark Harty SC, for Garda Dowling, that the matter was resolved. With the consent of both parties the judge made orders prohibiting GSOC from investigating Garda Dowling in relation the events of May 12, 2012, and quashed GSOC’s decision to open a fresh investigation.

The purpose of the new investigation, Garda Dowling was told, was to determine if his alleged conduct during the incident amounted to a breach of Garda disciplinary regulations. Arising out of GSOC’s decision, Garda Dowling brought a High Court action aimed at halting the investigation.

In the action, Garda Dowling’s lawyers argued that GSOC was acting outside of its powers and had failed to recognise that the DPP consented to a dismissal of the prosecution against both Garda Dowling and Garda Sheehan.

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