Judge Mitchell’s comments lead to inquiry

23/5/2012 Newly appointed District Court Judge, Mr Alan Mitchell pictured after his declaration ceremony in the Supreme Court yesterday(Wed).Pic: Collins Courts
The Garda Ombudsman Commission has ordered a public inquiry after Longford Judge Alan Mitchell said that evidence provided by members of An Garda Síochana during a criminal case in Dundlak, Co Louth last week was “disturbing to say the least”.

The Garda Ombudsman Commission has ordered a public inquiry after Longford Judge Alan Mitchell said that evidence provided by members of An Garda Síochana during a criminal case in Dundlak, Co Louth last week was “disturbing to say the least”.

The matter arose after evidence was given by the garda witnesses during the trial of another garda for assault.

Garda Drew Morgan was convicted last Friday at Dundalk District Court of assaulting Derek Bradley from Clogherhead in Co Louth at Drogheda Garda Station two years ago, while Bradley was being detained on suspicion of drink driving.

Judge Mitchell sentenced Morgan to three months in prison, however the garda is currently appealing the decision.

“The evidence of other gardaí in the case is disturbing to say the least as some appeared to have looked away at that moment and had their views blocked, or had hazy recollections,” Judge Mitchell said. “It has brought to mind ‘see, hear or speak no evil’ and this is not the garda’s finest hour. There may be persons who heard the evidence who may feel it is appropriate to investigate further.”

The Garda Commissioner subsequenlty appointed Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny to carry out an investigation into the matter, and it is now understood the Ombudsman’s investigation will determine if any garda or reserve garda witnesses could have committed an offence or an act of indiscipline in the provision of evidence under oath, or in preparing to give evidence at the trial.