Gardaí sent forward for trial on almost 40 counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice
July 02 2021 06:15 PM UP DATED BY FRED BASSETT OCTOBER 16.
A retired Limerick Garda Superintendent, and three Gardai serving in the southern region, have been sent forward for trial to the Circuit Court, on a total of almost 40 counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
The four accused appeared before Limerick District Court this morning, and were served with the State’s Books of Evidence by Detective Chief Superintendent Walter O’Sullivan, Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (GNBCI).
Liam Sheridan, solicitor for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), told the court the DPP had consented to all of the accused being sent forward for trial to the present sittings of Limerick Circuit Court.
The books, which outline the State’s case against each accused, relate to the operation of the Garda penalty points system and fixed charge notices following alleged garda detections for road traffic offences, including speeding, holding a mobile phone while driving, driving without insurance, and not wearing a seatbelt.
The four who were sent for trial are: retired Limerick-based Superintendent Edmund “Eamon” O’Neill, 54, with an address in County Clare; Sergeant Michelle Leahy, 45, with an address in Co Limerick; Garda Tom McGlinchey, 48, with an address in Co Tipperary; and Garda Colm Geary, 34, with an address in Co Clare.
A fifth accused, Sergeant Anne Marie Hassett, 36, with an address in Co Clare, who was also due to be served with a book, was granted a three-week adjournment after her solicitor produced a medical cert excusing her attendance in court today.
Mr O’Neill’s solicitor, Dan O’Gorman, stated he had “reservations” about the contents of the book served on Mr O’Neill.
Mr O’Gorman argued that Mr O’Neill was entitled to an adjournment so that his defence could consider the book of evidence and its contents.
He argued that the court had granted Mr O’Neill’s co-accused, an adjournment, however in refusing the application, Judge Marian Harney told Mr O’Gorman that Sgt Hassett had been granted an adjournment on foot of her solicitor producing a medical certificate on her behalf.
Judge Harney told Mr O’Gorman that Mr O’Neill did not produce a medical cert, adding “I refuse your application”.
“If there are any issues in the file or book of evidence then is appropriate for the trial judge to consider these matters,” Judge Harney said.
Mr Sheridan, for the DPP, said if Mr O’Neill had produced a medical certificate excusing his attendance and seeking an adjournment, this would have been consented to by the DPP.
Mr O’Gorman told a hearing last month that Mr O’Neill will be “vigorously contesting” the charges against him.
Mr O’Neill is facing 30 counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice; Sergeant Hassett is facing three counts; Sergeant Leahy, two counts, Garda McGlinchey, four counts; and Garda Geary, three counts. The four accused signed €300 bail bonds, which did not have to be lodged in court, and they were each remanded on continuing bail to appear for trial.
The charges against the five accused follow on from a two-year investigation carried out by the GNBCI, and are alleged to have occurred on dates between October 9, 2016, and September 6, 2019.
All five were arrested by appointment at Mayorstone Garda Station last April, and charged before Limerick District Court last May. Investigating gardai arrested the five accused after conducting a major intelligence operation, suspecting that a number of Fixed Charge Notices were not proceeded with.
The charges against the five relate to alleged road traffic matters involving some well-known sportspeople and media figures.