Date to be set for trial of Gardaí accused of attempts to pervert the course of justice

Retired Garda Superintendent Edmund 'Eamon' O’Neill. Photo: Brendan Gleeson.

THE TRIAL of a retired Garda Superintendent and four serving Gardaí accused of attempting to pervert the course of justice has been listed for a potential hearing date at Limerick Circuit Criminal Court.

A barrister acting for one of the accused, retired Garda Superintendent Edmund “Eamon” O’Neill, told Limerick Circuit Court Judge Tom O’Donnell that a “Court of Appeal matter” was awaited in the proceedings.

This Court of Appeal hearing has been set for two days, from July 4 and 5, the barrister said.

Judge O’Donnell directed that the trial of Mr O’Neill and the four other accused be included at the call-over of a list of trials on July 29, with a view to setting a date for trial, potentially in the autumn sessions of Limerick Circuit Court.

Mr O’Neill (57) is accused of 30 alleged offences of attempting to pervert the course of justice, whilst a serving Garda Superintendent, in respect of the operation of fixed charge penalty point notices.

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Sergeant Anne-Marie Hassett (40) is charged with three counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice; Sergeant Michelle Leahy, (48) is accused of two counts; Garda Tom McGlinchey (51), a former manager with the Waterford senior football team, is accused of four counts; Garda Colm Geary (38) is accused of three counts.

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

Other charges relate to the production of motor vehicle insurance, driving without insurance, holding a mobile phone while driving, and failure to wear a seatbelt.

Mr O’Neill’s solicitor, Dan O’Gorman, previously told the court that Mr O’Neill will be “vigorously contesting” all of the charges.

Retired Detective Chief Superintendent Walter O’Sullivan, former head of the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (GNBCI), led a two-year probe which resulted in him formally arresting and charging the five accused in April 2021.

The 42 charges, in total, relate to dates between October 9, 2016, and September 6, 2023.

None of the five accused made any reply when charged, the court heard.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has directed all five accused stand trial in the Circuit Court.

An application by the DPP, in January 2022, to have the trial heard outside of Limerick was refused by Judge Tom O’Donnell.