Four gardai and retired superintendent to face trials on charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice over fixed charge penalty notices

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A retired Garda Superintendent, two Garda Sergeants, and two Gardai, are to face trials, after they were each charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice before Limerick District Court.

The investigation, into alleged wrongdoing by garda members in the Southern region, is being led by the Dublin-based Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (GNBCI), under the direction of Detective Chief Superintendent Walter O’Sullivan.

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The five accused were charged in court with a total of 42 counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Story David Raleigh. A file photogrph of retired Superintendent Eamon O’Neill. Picture Liam Burke/:Press 22

None of the accused were present at Limerick District Court today when their cases were called before Judge Patricia Harney.

The five accused are, retired Superintendent Eamon O’Neill, formerly Roxboro Road garda station; Sergeant Michelle Leahy, Roxboro Road garda station; Sergeant Anne-Marie Hassett; Kerry Garda Division, formerly Limerick; Garda Tom McGlinchey, Murroe garda station; Garda Colm Geary, Clare Garda Division.

Mr O’Neill is charged with 30 out of the 42 alleged offences; Sergeant Leahy is charged with two counts; Garda McGlinchey, who is a former manager of the Waterford senior football team, is charged with four counts; Garda Geary is charged with three counts; and Sgt Hassett is charged with three offences.

Story David Raleigh. File photo from 2008 of Garda Sgt Anne Marie Hassett. Picture: Liam Burke/Press 22

The charges as set out, relate to the five accused allegedly communicating with other gardai and civilians about fixed charge penalty points relating to alleged road traffic offences.

According to one of the charges as set out in court documents, Mr O’Neill is alleged to have advised a member of the public “how to offset penalty points in respect of a speeding detection”.

The fixed charged penalty notices relate to alleged cases against parties, including a number of sporting and media personalities, and cover alleged speeding, failing to produce insurance, holding a mobile phone while driving, failing to wear a seatbelt, and with having no insurance.

Story David Raleigh . Garda Tom McGlinchey.
Photograph Press 22

Mr O’Neill’s solicitor, Dan O’Gorman, told Judge Harney that Mr O’Neill would be “vigorously contesting” all of the charges.

The charges against all five are alleged to have occurred between October 9, 2016 and September 6, 2019.

Detective Chief Superintendent Walter O’Sullivan, head of the GNBCI, gave evidence of arresting and charging all of the five accused separately at different times on April 29th this year, at Mayorstone Garda Station, Limerick.

The five accused, who did not reply when charged, were released on station bail to appear in court today, it was heard.

In court today, Det Chief Supt O’Sullivan applied for a four-week adjournment and said it was “anticipated” the Book of Evidence would be ready to be served on all five accused at that time.

He said the Director of Public Prosecutions had directed that all five accused stand trial on indictment.

The charges follow a two-year probe by the GNBCI who conducted a major intelligence operation which led to a series of searches across the mid west, after detectives suspected a number of fixed charge penalty points notices were not proceeded with.

Judge Harney remanded the five accused on continuing bail to appear before Limerick District Court on June 11th for service of the books of evidence.