Garda probe continues into claims that murder witness statement was shredded

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AN investigation is continuing into claims that a Garda destroyed a witness statement relating to a murder to shield an informant.

It is understood that the internal Garda probe has been underway for several months.

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The Garda at the centre of the allegations has not been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation and the claims remain unproven.

Sources say that the Garda was not directly involved in investigating the murder but shredded a witness statement to protect an informant suspected of being present when the victim was killed.

Gardaí are investigating further claims that a second Garda was privy to the destruction of the witness statement.

Last March, after the allegations surfaced, a complaint by a third party was made to the Garda Ombudsman Commission (GSOC), in accordance with the Garda Siochana Act 2005.

GSOC informed the complainant that the Ombudsman had determined the complaint was admissible and should be investigated in accordance with Section 98 of the Act, in other words a criminal investigation.

A GSOC spokesperson said they had no comment to make.

The Garda Commissioner’s office also received a complaint about the allegations.

A spokesperson on behalf of a representative of the Garda Commissioner stated the allegations were “receiving attention”.

Separately, it has emerged that a complete review of the original murder investigation is underway.

“A peer review of this investigation has been established by the Chief Superintendent Divisional Officer,” a Garda spokesperson said.

In a follow up query as to why the review had been sanctioned, a Garda spokesperson replied: “An Garda Siochana does not comment on operational decisions.”

It’s understood GSOC is awaiting the outcome of the internal inquiry, and the separate investigation review, before launching its own probe.

The internal inquiry has been adjourned to a date later this year and the Garda at the centre of the claims is continuing to carry out day-to-day policing duties.

A source close to the family of the murder victim said they were “stunned” at the allegations.

However, they said they were “happy” the case was being fully reviewed.

Responding to a list of general questions regarding the internal inquiry, a Garda spokesman replied: “An Garda Siochana does not comment on internal disciplinary matters.”

In a subsequent response, a spokesperson stated the murder investigation is “‘live’ and ongoing”.

“We would urge anyone with information to contact investigating Gardaí,” they added.