herald

Saturday 24 August 2019

Garda who was in band with Westlife members is caught with €100 of coke

Michael Garrett at his garda graduation ceremony in Templemore
Michael Garrett at his garda graduation ceremony in Templemore

A garda with 15 years' service who was in an early Westlife line-up was caught with cocaine after he was stopped and searched, a court has heard.

Michael Garrett (39), of Orchard Lane, Strandhill Road, Sligo, appeared before Dublin District Court yesterday.

He had been charged with unlawful possession of cocaine at Tritonville Avenue, Sandymount, last August 26.

The case was listed for him to indicate how he would plead.

Insp Michael McNulty, from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI), was present to give evidence.

Guilty

However, the case did not have to go to a full trial after counsel told Judge Patricia Harney that his client was pleading guilty to the charge.

Dressed in a dark suit, Garrett sat at the front of the public gallery as the facts of the case were outlined.

Insp McNulty told Judge Harney that Garrett had been stopped under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

During a search, a bag containing 1.6 grammes of cocaine was found, he said, adding that it was worth approximately €100.

The inspector said Garrett had no previous convictions.

"He has never come to attention in his career dating 15 years in the organisation," he said.

Garrett remained silent during the hearing and was not required to give evidence.

Counsel asked for time for medical reports on him to be prepared.

The barrister said his client had an appointment later this week with his GP.

Noting the guilty plea, Judge Harney ordered the accused to appear again on November 4 for sentencing.

Garrett was arrested following an intelligence-led operation by the NBCI, the main body tasked with investigating suspected criminal offences by garda members.

Following his arrest, Garda HQ said Garrett, who was not named at the time, was suspended from duty pending the outcome of the investigation.

Regarded

Sources said last night that Garrett was "well regarded" by his colleagues and had a good record within the force.

He was a singer in the boy band IOU when Louis Walsh signed a number of its members in 2000.

They included Shane Filan, Kian Egan and Mark Feehily who later formed Westlife, but Garrett did not make the cut.

He was posted at Pearse Street Garda Station where he was working as a community policing officer up until his arrest.

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