Retired superintendent and four gardaí charged with attempting to pervert course of justice

Charges centre around fixed charge penalty points and one of the accused is a former manager of the Waterford senior football team
Retired superintendent and four gardaí charged with attempting to pervert course of justice

Retired Superintendent Eamon O'Neill, pictured here in 2005, is charged with 30 out of the 42 alleged offences. Photo: Liam Burke/Press 22

A retired Garda Superintendent, two Garda Sergeants, and two gardaí are to face trials after they were each charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice before Limerick District Court.

The investigation, into alleged wrongdoing by Garda members in the Southern region, is being led by the Dublin-based Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (GNBCI), under the direction of Detective Chief Superintendent Walter O’Sullivan.

The five accused were charged in court with a total of 42 counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

None of the accused were present at Limerick District Court today when their cases were called before Judge Patricia Harney.

The five accused are, retired Superintendent Eamon O’Neill, formerly Roxboro Road Garda Station; Sergeant Michelle Leahy, Roxboro Road Garda Station; Sergeant Anne-Marie Hassett; Kerry Garda Division, formerly Limerick; Garda Tom McGlinchey, Murroe Garda Station; Garda Colm Geary, Clare Garda Division.

The charges

Mr O’Neill is charged with 30 out of the 42 alleged offences; Sergeant Leahy is charged with two counts; Garda McGlinchey, who is a former manager of the Waterford senior football team, is charged with four counts; Garda Geary is charged with three counts; and Sgt Hassett is charged with three offences.

The charges as set out relate to the five accused allegedly communicating with other gardaí and civilians about fixed charge penalty points relating to alleged road traffic offences.

According to one of the charges as set out in court documents, Mr O’Neill is alleged to have advised a member of the public “how to offset penalty points in respect of a speeding detection”.

The fixed charged penalty notices relate to alleged cases against parties, including a number of sporting and media personalities, and allegedly cover speeding, failing to produce insurance, holding a mobile phone while driving, failing to wear a seatbelt, and having no insurance.

Garda Sgt Anne-Marie Hassett, pictured here in 2008, is charged with three of the alleged offences. Photo: Liam Burke/Press 22
Garda Sgt Anne-Marie Hassett, pictured here in 2008, is charged with three of the alleged offences. Photo: Liam Burke/Press 22

Mr O’Neill’s solicitor, Dan O’Gorman, told Judge Harney that Mr O’Neill would be “vigorously contesting” all of the charges.

The charges against all five are alleged to have occurred between October 9, 2016, and September 6, 2019.

Detective Chief Superintendent Walter O’Sullivan, head of the GNBCI, gave evidence of arresting and charging all of the five accused separately at different times on April 29 this year, at Mayorstone Garda Station, Limerick.

The five accused, who did not reply when charged, were released on station bail to appear in court today, it was heard.

Today's hearing

In court today, Det Chief Supt O’Sullivan applied for a four-week adjournment and said it was “anticipated” the book of evidence would be ready to be served on all five accused at that time.

He said the Director of Public Prosecutions had directed that all five accused stand trial on indictment.

The charges follow a two-year probe by the GNBCI who conducted a major intelligence operation which led to a series of searches across the Mid West, after detectives suspected a number of fixed charge penalty points notices were not proceeded with.

Judge Harney remanded the five accused on continuing bail to appear before Limerick District Court on June 11 for service of the books of evidence.

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