Four gardaí and retired superintendent charged with attempting to pervert course of justice

Retired superintendent is alleged to have advised member of public ‘how to offset penalty points’

A retired garda superintendent, two garda sergeants, and two gardaí, have been charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice at Limerick District Court.

They are retired Superintendent Eamon O'Neill, formerly Roxboro Road garda station; Sgt Michelle Leahy, Roxboro Road garda station; Sgt Anne-Marie Hassett; Kerry Garda Division, formerly Limerick; Garda Tom McGlinchey, Murroe garda station; and Garda Colm Geary, Clare Garda Division.

They were charged with a total of 42 counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Mr O’Neill is charged with 30 of the 42 alleged offences; Sgt Leahy with two counts; Garda McGlinchey is charged with four counts; Garda Geary is charged with three counts; and Sgt Hassett is charged with three counts.

Dan O'Gorman, solicitor for the retired superintendent, told Judge Patricia Harney that his client would be "vigorously contesting" all of the charges.

The offences with which all five are charged are alleged to have occurred between October 9th, 2016 and September 6th, 2019.

According to the charges as set out, they allegedly communicated with other gardaí and civilians about fixed charge penalty points relating to alleged road traffic offences.

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

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

Detective Chief Superintendent Walter O’Sullivan, head of the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (GNBCI), gave evidence of arresting and charging all five accused 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 on Friday, the court heard.

None of the accused were present when their cases were called before Judge Harney. They are not obliged to under Covid-19 restrictions.

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.

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.