‘Whistleblower’ jailed for claiming garda was corrupt

Sean Carraher was convicted of ‘defamatory’ online posts about Sgt Conor Gilmartin

A man claiming to be a ‘whistleblower’ has been jailed for five years for making online postings alleging a garda was corrupt. File photograph: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

A man claiming to be a ‘whistleblower’ has been jailed for five years for making online postings alleging a garda was corrupt. File photograph: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

 

A man claiming to be a “whistleblower” has been jailed for five years for making online postings alleging a garda was corrupt.

Sean Carraher (55) began harassing Sgt Conor Gilmartin because he was unhappy with the way the garda dealt with a complaint he made that his children were being physically abused.

Carraher was convicted earlier this month of posting 58 messages on the websites Rate-Your-Solicitor and Victims of the Legal Profession, alleging, among other things, that Mr Gilmartin had withheld evidence in a previous case involving him.

Carraher also made up to 12 harassing phone calls to Mr Gilmartin.

Carraher, of Stradbrook Hill, Blackrock, Dublin, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to harassing Mr Gilmartin between March 2009 and May 2011. He was convicted by a jury after nearly six hours of deliberation.

Judge Patrick McCartan said he was imposing the five-year sentence to “send out a message to any other that thinks of spreading information that is grossly defamatory”.

He said Carraher has “all the attributes of a bully”, and used “the anonymity of one-way traffic of the internet” to make the allegations of corruption, despite not having “one whit” of evidence to support them.

The judge said Carraher had “not spoken one word of sorry or one word of regret” since the trial began and he “still carried with him the obdurate view to do what he wishes”.

Victim impact

In a victim impact report, Mr Gilmartin said Carraher’s actions were planned to humiliate him and his family.

He said his wife feared for her safety when he was out of the house and he felt his standing in the local community had been diminished.

The trial had heard that the phrase “Conor Gilmartin is the most corrupt garda . . .” was one of the first results when the garda’s name was searched for on Google.

Most of the posts are still online, the court heard.

He said it had been very difficult to listen to the accused continually refer to him in court as “corrupt Sgt Conor Gilmartin” and he felt like he was the one on trial.

Prosecuting counsel James Dwyer BL said that, in 2009, Carraher’s wife made allegations against him regarding “domestic violence issues, harassment and things of that nature”.

In turn, Carraher said he was being kept from his children and that they were being physically abused.

He made a complaint to gardaí, but claimed afterwards that Mr Gilmartin had been “extremely rude and patronising” to him and had said he had no intention of investigating the complaint.

Carraher said he then made a complaint about Mr Gilmartin. He alleged the sergeant launched a campaign of harassment against him following that complaint.

He said he was frequently arrested for no reason and that Mr Gilmartin withheld or altered evidence relating to another court case.

It was at this point that Carraher began making the harassing phone calls and internet posts.