7: A complaint of abuse of authority resolved by disciplinary investigation by GSOC


Background:

Two men made separate complaints to the Garda Ombudsman alleging that they were treated with excessive force and were verbally abused by a garda, on the same occasion. A criminal investigation was undertaken by a Garda Ombudsman investigator*, given that a possible criminal offence was alleged, and a file was referred to the DPP. No prosecution was directed. A disciplinary case** with regard to possible abuse of authority and discreditable conduct was subsequently opened by the Garda Ombudsman.

Action Taken

The investigation, carried out by a designated GSOC investigator, involved taking statements from the two complainants and from the garda involved. Several witnesses were also interviewed and had conflicting views on whether there had been excessive use of force in the situation or not. Footage from three CCTV cameras was also reviewed, which showed evidence of physical interaction between a garda and each complainant – however it was insufficiently clear to identify the people involved accurately or to prove excessive use of force.

Outcome

A report summarising the above findings of the investigation and making a recommendation was issued to Garda Authorities. The garda concerned was found not to be in breach of discipline.

*Pursuant to s.98 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005.

**Pursuant to s.95 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005.