Garda who sexually assaulted female colleague receives jail term

Judge commends victim for her bravery in seeing through the prosecution of Anthony Gath (31)

A male garda who sexually assaulted a female colleague has received a three-year sentence, with the final two years suspended.

Tullamore Circuit Court heard that Anthony Gath (31), of Bunaterin, Tullamore, Co Offaly, has been dismissed from the force.

He had been found guilty in a trial earlier this year of sexually assaulting the female garda at her home on June 27th, 2019.

At the time he worked in a different location from the victim in the Leinster area and the assault was committed after a number of gardaí were on a night out.


At the sentencing hearing on Wednesday, Judge Keenan Johnson said Gath had been friendly with the victim and the evening prior to the offence they both had been at the races and then went on to a hotel with other colleagues.

After that they went to the victim’s apartment and she went to bed because she was on duty the next day.

Gath who “had a considerable amount of drink taken” came to her room along with another female garda and it was arranged that he would stay the night, sleeping in the victim’s room.

The judge said the victim did not have any recollection of Gath getting into the bed but she did recall being woken during the night and could feel the man’s hand under her underwear.

She told him to get out of the room and was extremely distressed and phoned her friend who was still in the apartment.

They, along with another female friend, then went looking for Gath and found him in a bathroom with his hands on his head in a distressed state. Gath then left the apartment.

The judge said the victim was very distressed and she was in a difficult position because she was a serving member of the Garda.

Subsequently she told a colleague and a meeting took place with superior officers and an investigation took place, though the victim did not want to make a formal complaint.

Judge Johnson said gardaí were nonetheless obligated to investigate the matter and statements were taken from the victim which were corroborated by the other women who were there on the night.

The accused man said he had been present but he denied committing sexual assault and he was convicted after a two-day trial.

The judge said the Garda had not been found wanting in investigating the matter and that showed a large degree of independence on behalf of the force.

He said the offence represented an extremely grievous breach of trust on Gath’s part. It was quite clear from a victim impact statement that the assault had a profound negative impact on her and she continued to find it difficult to deal with it.

He commended her for the stoicism and bravery she had shown in seeing the prosecution through which is important to call out that type of behaviour and see that those responsible are held to account.

The accused had no previous convictions and a probation report made it clear he was extremely apologetic, not only to the victim, but also to his family and his former Garda colleagues.

The loss of his job by Gath was a “huge punishment” for him because being a garda was his life’s ambition and he had been working well.

He would now be put on the sex offenders’ register which would involve him meeting with gardaí four times a year to review his situation.

Judge Johnson said the offence was a gross breach of the victim’s bodily integrity. Two years of the three-year sentence were suspended on entry of a €500 peace bond by the accused and he was also ordered to remain under the supervision of the probation service for 12 months.

Because of the “time of year” he ordered that the sentence begin on January 10th next and Gath must present himself to a Garda station on that date.