Former garda Paul Moody begins coercive control sentence in Mountjoy Prison

Sentence of three years and three months could be reduced under enhanced remission if Moody (42) engages with prison services

Former Garda member Paul Moody, jailed for three years and three months for a campaign of coercive control against his terminally ill ex-partner, has begun his prison sentence in Dublin’s Mountjoy Prison.

The Irish Times understands the 42 year old, jailed on Tuesday, was committed to the prison system via Mountjoy after his court hearing and has been in isolation since. That period of isolation arises so all prisoners can be tested for Covid-19 and are kept away from the general prison population until a negative test result is confirmed.

After that period expires, which may be as early as Friday, Moody was then expected to be placed into protective custody in Mountjoy. He is then likely to be transferred to the Midlands Prison, Portlaoise, Co Laois. That jail, which is on the same campus as Portlaoise Prison, has been availed of when gardaí or prison officers are jailed.

If transferred to the Midlands, Moody will spend his full period of imprisonment on protection. That means he will only mix with other prisoners placed on protection — because there are threats against them or they are regarded as vulnerable — and who are not deemed a risk to each other.


With 25 per cent remission, which all prisoners are entitled to irrespective of their behaviour in jail, Moody will be released in 2½ years. If he engages with prison services and earns enhanced remission, of one-third, his release date will be brought forward by three months, meaning he will be freed after serving two years and two months.

Moody was convicted of coercive control and resigned from his job as a garda before a process to dismiss him could run its course after the case had been dealt with by the courts. He had originally been charged with 35 offences relating to a four-year campaign of abuse directed against the victim, who is terminally ill. These included assault, criminal damage, harassment and threats to kill.

Moody, with an address in Co Kildare and who had been a Garda member for two decades, faced a maximum sentence of five years for coercive control. However, given his guilty plea and previous lack of convictions, along with some other mitigating factors, his term of imprisonment was lower than the maximum and reduces further with remission.

The Policing Authority said many of the “systemic issues which arise in this specific case” had already been discussed with senior gardaí, including “security of the Pulse system, culture change, encouraging speaking out, and preventing and detecting” domestic abuse and other crimes.

“These issues are again thrown into sharp relief by the recent conviction and these various aspects will be discussed with the commissioner at today’s authority meeting,” it added of a scheduled meeting it held with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and his senior team on Thursday.

The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, which investigations complaints and criminal allegations made against Garda members, also encouraged victims to come forward to it.

A Garda review of all cases involving gender-based violence, or where there were allegations of a sexual nature, was signalled by Mr Harris last year. He said at the time there were lessons to be learned from the murder of Sarah Everard in the UK by former London Met police officer Wayne Couzens, about whom earlier warning signs had been missed.

In reply to queries, Garda Headquarters said the quality of investigations into allegations against Garda members made over the last two years were being reviewed to assess if lessons could be learned. Sources said the process will determine if the alleged perpetrators’ positions in the Garda influenced any investigations in their favour.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times