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 Street Garda Station between June 21 and June 22, 2011.
The instrument is alleged to have been a letter from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), dated January 14, 2009.
The investigation of Gda McGowan’s handling of the case — which involved a priest accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl — was prompted by the publication of the Murphy Report which investigated clerical sexual abuse in the Dublin area. The priest in Gda McGowan’s case was mentioned in the report.
Detective Inspector Frank Keenaghan said that he first became aware that Det Gda McGowan had been conducting an investigation into the priest in July 2011.
The jury previously heard that the victim first made a complaint in 2006 to a different garda. She later withdrew the complaint.
In 2007, she returned to the station to make a statement and made a formal complaint to Det Gda McGowan, as the other garda had been transferred to a different station.
Det Insp Keenaghan refused to accept a suggestion from Patrick Marrinan, defending, that he told Det Gda McGowan, on discovering the letter was potentially forged, that if she admitted wrongdoing she would be “looked after”.
He accepted a suggestion from counsel that it was “a politically sensitive case”.
He agreed this was the first time such an incident had occurred at Bray Garda Station but claimed he had not initially accused Det Gda McGowan of forgery.
When Mr Marrinan put it to Det Insp Keenaghan that his client felt “judged, condemned, and isolated”, the witness replied “not by me”.
Det Insp Keenaghan agreed with Alex Owen, prosecuting, in re-examination that he never said to the accused “shit rolls downwards and you will be the fall guy” as had been suggested by the defence team.
He said he does not use that phrase so he could not imagine saying it to her.
The trial continues.