The case of a Garda member being fined after having sex with a prostitute he was investigating should be examined more fully, an agency assisting women in the sex trade has said.
The woman at the centre of the case alleged the garda raped her, although the Director of Public Prosecutions did not believe there was sufficient evidence to ground a case.
The garda claimed they had consensual sex when he was off duty.
The woman and a friend also working in prostitution from a shared apartment were both convicted of that crime despite the actions of a member of the Garda team involved in their arrest and prosecution.
It is understood the Garda member involved, following investigation by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC), was fined a five figure sum and continues to work in the force.
Advocacy group Ruhama said his actions had undermined the force’s efforts to police prostitution in a more understanding and professional manner. The force must now do “whatever it takes” to restore that trust after such a serious breach of trust and abuse of power.
Ruhama said the public needed to be aware that the woman was a member of a very vulnerable group exposed to violence and exploitation daily by the organised crime gangs that controlled them.
“Gravity of the situation”
Ms Rowley said the “awful thing” was the message that this could give to women working in prostitution. “We are trying to find every avenue possible to tell women ‘look, come forward; you should report the crimes, there are gardaí you can go to and you are not going to be prosecuted’. The women are so distrusting generally and there has been a big abuse of power here, hugely.”
Ms Rowley said Ruhama had been involved in training Garda members nationally on how to police prostitution and had found a committed force.
“We would encourage women to continue to trust members of An Garda Síochána and we hope that this case doesn’t erode that confidence.”
The garda was part of a team which arrested two women working as prostitutes from the same property. After the arrests, the garda returned and had sex with one of the women. She alleged that she felt obliged to have sex with him because he was a garda.
She feared she would be targeted for arrest and prosecution again if she declined. She made an allegation of rape, with her friend giving a statement that supported her claim.
The garda denied the claim, saying he had had consensual sex with the woman when he was off duty and after the arrest had taken place.
Breach of discipline
A summary of the GSOC’s findings, published on its website, noted: “The first complainant’s statement said that she felt compelled to have sexual intercourse with the garda concerned because he was a member of An Garda Síochána involved in a prosecution which led to her conviction for an offence and she feared further prosecution.”
Fred says: Drew Harris has one obsession and his career in the RUC cements this, without question. Dissident IRA groups – Harris wants them hunted down and put permanently out of action. This was his position before he crossed the Border and began sporting the Commissioner’s hat. Now it appears that Drew did not calculate the level of corruption and internal toxicity in the Gardai in the Republic. Harris is not a bad cop and he feels a sense of duty to the people he tries to protect as the Commissioner of the Southern Irish Police Force. The problem Harris has is simple: There is a clash of Culture even though he hides it very well; he is a loner type, a family man, and he does not mix or go for a pint with any of the senior members of the Gardai. This is where the problem will start, pre and post Brexit.
In the meantime, we have gangland feuds all over the Island of Ireland. We know about Drogheda and Longford and Sligo. What we don’t know is the full facts and the level of corruption within the Gardai here and the connection that some members have with Gangland figures and monies being exchanged for favours. The above article is a perfect example of how a Garda officer, after arresting a working sex woman, goes back afterwards AND FEELS HE HAS THE RIGHT TO HAVE SEX WITH THE WOMAN. SURELY THIS IS NOT A DISCIPLINARY MATTER; IT IS A CRIME IN ITSELF. This happened four years ago and like so much more in our corruption circles, it disappeared off the radar. We still don’t know the outcome of the High Court case that Fintan Fanning AC Commissioner Garda took against Harris and Flanagan, after being suspended for a period. Some sources tell me Fanning retired in August and received a lump sum settlement out of court. (These are allegations that are not confirmed.)
In the meantime the Culture of Corruption and Rogue Cops continues and the mistrust between the people of Ireland and the Gardai also continues. This leaves Drew Harris in a very lonely place and nobody would wish this on a former English Senior Police Officer, no matter what cap he is wearing at present. To be continued. Fred