Lawyers ask court to order media not to publish garda’s name

The officer's lawyer said that if he is named in reports, there is a risk other parties would be identified that should not be
Lawyers ask court to order media not to publish garda’s name

The Dublin-based officer is charged with threatening to kill or cause serious harm to his then-wife. File image

Lawyers for a garda who is facing trial for allegedly threatening to kill his wife have asked a court to order the media not to publish his name.

The Dublin-based officer is charged with threatening to kill or cause serious harm to his then-wife on dates in October 2012. He is also charged with coercing her at the same address outside Dublin on the same dates.

At a District Court earlier this month Judge Paula Murphy made a temporary gagging order preventing the publication of the defendant's name. Judge Murphy said she was restricting the reporting until such time that the full facts of the issue were put before the circuit court.

The matter was sent forward for trial on that date and appeared for mention at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today.

Breffni Gordon BL, defending, told Judge Melanie Greally that he was asking the court to restrict the publication of his client's name until the trial when the “the matter can be thoroughly explored” by the trial judge.

He said there has been some reporting of the matter to date. He said his application was for the continuation of the restrictions imposed by Judge Murphy.

The court heard that the media have a right, as recognised by the High Court, to bring an application to the court to have any order restricting reporting set aside.

He said since the ruling by Judge Murphy no member of the media have brought any application to the court. He said at that hearing solicitors for the State indicated the DPP “would revisit the matter”.

'Deeply private' material

He said that there is “deeply private” material set out in the book of evidence. He said that if the media are allowed to name him, there is a risk other parties would be identified that should not be.

Dean Kelly BL, for the DPP, told the court that the test for restricting the publication of particular material was whether publication would affect the right to a fair trial.

Judge Greally said that she was not convinced that the publication of the defendant's name would affect his ability to get a fair trial but said that the privacy rights of third parties could be compromised by publication.

Mr Gordon said there has already being extensive reporting of the case and that some of this could be considered prejudicial.

Judge Greally said there is an obligation on media to report matters responsibility and not to report matters that would affect fairness of trial.

“I don’t believe publication of his name would present a real risk of an unfair trial,” she said, but added that publication of some of the details are capable of compromising rights of third parties and have the potential to compromise right to fair trial.

She adjourned the matter for a full hearing on September 23, next.

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