Man receives suspended sentence for making false allegations to GSOC

15 Nov 2017

A man who made false allegations about gardaí to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) was today (Wed 15 Nov) given a four month suspended sentence after pleading guilty to two offences of providing false or misleading information to GSOC.

James O’Leary (57) of Skiddy’s Homes, Pouladuff Road, Cork was charged with two offences contrary to Section 110 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005* arising from two statements he made to GSOC alleging that gardaí had assaulted him.

He claimed to GSOC that he was assaulted while he was in custody for alleged road traffic offences in the Bridewell Garda Station in Cork in February 2016.

GSOC prepared a file for the DPP after its investigators obtained CCTV footage and statements contradicting Mr O’Leary’s claims.

Mr O’Leary, who appeared in front of Judge Aingeal Ní Chondúin in Cork District Cork, entered pleas of guilty.

Outlining the facts of the case to the court, GSOC Investigating Officer Noreen Lambert said Mr O’Leary had made a statement in which he said that, upon his release from the Bridewell, two Gardaí had “without warning” caught him under his arms and thrown him out the door of the station onto the steps outside. He said he’d subsequently attended hospital for an injury to his chest.

Investigating Officer Lambert said GSOC had obtained CCTV footage for the custody area, entrance/exit hall and external area of the Bridewell which refuted Mr O’Leary’s claims.  It showed Mr O’Leary having his property returned, leaving the custody area and going out the front door of the station, and showed one garda holding the door open.

Mr O’Leary could be seen leaving unassisted while the custody garda advises him to mind the step on leaving. There was no interaction between Mr O’Leary and any garda outside the station.

Judge Ní Chondúin imposed a sentence of four months imprisonment, suspended for twelve months on condition Mr O’Leary enter a bond in the amount of €500, in respect of one count, and took  the second count into consideration. Defence did not ask for recognisance to be fixed in the event of appeal.

*It is an offence under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 to knowingly provide false or misleading information to GSOC in relation to a complaint or investigation. The offence carries a penalty of a fine of up to €2,500 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or both.

A prosecution for such an offence can only be brought by or with the consent of the DPP after being referred by the Ombudsman Commission.