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The two women are only ones likely to face court

By Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor, The Irish Independent

Q. Who will end up in court in the wake of the Corrib/garda "rape tape" controversy?

A. If anyone, it is the two women arrested for alleged public order offences who may face prosecution. A file in respect of those alleged offences will be forwarded to the DPP, who may or may not prosecute the pair.

Q. Could the gardai, if the reports are authenticated, face criminal proceedings?

A. The gardai are unlikely to face prosecution as there is no suggestion of any physical assault or battery, but two separate investigations are ongoing to determine whether criminal or disciplinary proceedings are warranted.

Q. Have any gardai ever been prosecuted over alleged abuses of authority and maltreatment at the Corrib gas site?

A. No. The Garda Ombudsman has received 111 complaints from members of the public, including protesters, regarding the controversial €13.9m policing operation at the site. Of those, seven files have been sent to the DPP, who decided not to prosecute any gardai.

Q. What possible disciplinary rules may the garda have breached?

A. The 2005 Garda Siochana Act outlines a range of disciplinary breaches for gardai in the course of their duties.

These include failing to behave with due courtesy to a member of the public, neglect of duty, abuse of authority through oppressive conduct towards a member of the public, and corrupt or improper practice.

Q. What about discrediting the force?

A. Of most interest in the breach of discipline schedule in the 2005 act is the concept of discreditable conduct. This is where a garda conducts him or herself in a manner that he or she knows -- or ought to know -- would be reasonably likely to bring discredit on An Garda Siochana.

Q. What happens if gardai are found to have acted wrongly in the course of their duties?

A. Foul play by gardai opens the State up to legal actions for damages as gardai are servants of the State.

Q. What happens if gardai are found to have breached disciplinary regulations?

A. Individual gardai who seriously breach disciplinary regulations can face a range of sanctions up to and including suspension and dismissal. In the most serious of cases, they could also face criminal proceedings.

- Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor


Posted Date: 
7 April 2011