herald

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Garda had to pay out €50k to clear name

A GARDA acquitted of assaulting a man with his baton was under severe financial strain during a three-year battle to clear his name, it is claimed.

The Garda Representative Association (GRA) has told the Herald that officer Brendan Whitty had to pay for his own defence, which is estimated to have cost up to €50,000.

It has been reported that that GRA may assist Garda Whitty with part of his costs, but the association declined to comment on this today.

The young officer was this week acquitted of assaulting a man, who subsequently died in custody. The dead man, Keith Murphy, died from a drugs overdose and not as a result of being struck with a baton.



strain

It took a jury of 12 people just one hour to unanimously acquit Garda Whitty of assault causing harm to Keith Murphy.

"Garda Whitty has had to pay for his own defence, placing an incredible financial strain on a young garda," a spokesperson for the GRA told the Herald.

Garda Whitty's representatives association has accused the Ombudsman of "excessive" and "oppressive" behaviour into the way they conducted the three-year investigation.

The GRA said that gardai should not be subject to "unwarranted suffering" if they are forced to use their batons or incapacitant spray.

GRA president Damien McCarthy called on the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform to launch an inquiry into the conduct of certain members of the Garda Ombudsman Commission. In response to these accusations, the Ombudsman Commission defended the actions its members. "The Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) rejects any suggestion by the GRA that, in the matter of the case of Garda Whitty, its officers engaged in behaviour that can be described in the terms used by the GRA.

"GSOC did, in the course of its investigation, seek the co-operation of witnesses for the State, including garda witnesses," they said in a statement.

"GSOC would expect that such co-operation would be forthcoming, particularly from members of the Garda Siochana at all times."





Investigation

They went on to say that they conducted the investigation in accordance with procedure.

"GSOC undertook this investigation having been called in by the Garda Commissioner under the Garda Siochana Act," they added.

"GSOC collected the evidence. The DPP took the decision that there was sufficient evidence to warrant bringing the case to court. Garda Whitty was tried and acquitted by a jury. This is the essence of garda accountability in a modern policing environment."

hnews@herald.ie

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