1: Referral following the death of a man shortly after his detention in a Garda station

9 Jan 2017


A section 95 disciplinary investigation was initiated by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission following the death of a man shortly after his detention in a Garda station. The investigation began after a Garda superintendent made a referral to GSOC. The investigation found that a 999 call was received from a member of the public who witnessed an elderly man fall and strike his head. An ambulance arrived and an assessment established he had sustained a wound to the back of his head. Attempts were made to take him to the hospital to receive treatment but he refused. He was subsequently brought to the Garda station. Further pleas were made by gardaí for the injured man to attend the hospital to get treatment but he refused. He was subsequently arrested under section 4 of the Public Order Act, 1994 and section 25 Liquor Licensing Act, 1974 and brought from the ambulance to the Garda station.

During his detention he was brought from his cell to the office of the member in charge where he was left lying on the floor for a period of time. A taxi arrived to take the man home, but on seeing the injured man’s condition, the taxi driver refused to bring him home and advised that ‘this man requires medical attention’. The man was returned to his cell in the Garda station. Later that evening a new member in charge took up his duty. Some time later a check was carried out on the cells and the garda had difficulties rousing the man. An ambulance was subsequently called and he was brought to hospital where he later died.

Action taken:

During the investigation a number of discrepancies were found between, on the one hand, the garda accounts when rousing the male and what was recorded in the custody record, and on the other, the CCTV footage that overlooked the prison cells. The GSOC report of the investigation, which was sent to the Garda Commissioner, recommended that disciplinary proceedings be instituted against four garda members, including two supervisory sergeants as it appeared they failed to provide effective guidance and direction.


A board of inquiry was established in respect of all four garda members. The two sergeants were found not to be in breach of the Garda Síochána (Discipline) Regulations 2007. One garda was found to be in breach of the regulations on two counts of neglect of duty.