Two gardaí fail to halt disciplinary inquiry in High Court

Pair allegedly tried to gain access to apartment to seek services of prostitute

Both gardaí were charged with assault and, after a trial before Limerick District Court, were acquitted in 2014 of those charges. Photograph: Frank Miller

Both gardaí were charged with assault and, after a trial before Limerick District Court, were acquitted in 2014 of those charges. Photograph: Frank Miller

 

Two gardaí have failed to get High Court orders halting an internal Garda disciplinary investigation against them over an incident where they allegedly attempted to gain access to an apartment seeking the services of a prostitute.

Garda David Naughton and Garda Wesley Kenny, who both deny the claims and were previously acquitted at a District Court hearing of assault charges arising from the incident in Limerick in 2013, sought to prevent the inquiry continuing on grounds including it was unfair and oppressive.

Mr Justice Michael White refused their application, clearing the way for the inquiry to proceed.

Both gardaí were acquitted of charges of assault by Limerick District Court arising from an incident on December 5th, 2013, when both were attending a Christmas party in Limerick with work colleagues.

The two became involved in a fracas with two males and the dispute was broken up by other gardaí.

Assault

During the course of the criminal investigation, the two males alleged the plaintiff gardaí had assaulted them and had attempted to force entry to an apartment allegedly looking for prostitutes.

Both gardaí, who strongly denied the claims, were charged with assault and, after a three-day trial before Limerick District Court, were acquitted in November 2014 of those charges.

An internal Garda board of inquiry was established in May 2015 to establish if there had been a breach of discipline under the 2007 Garda Discipline Regulations. The board was convened in September 2015 and heard submissions.

Both gardaí are accused of discreditable conduct for allegedly attempting to gain access to an apartment building at Upper Cecil Street, Limerick, seeking the services of a prostitute.

In judicial review proceedings against the Garda Commissioner, both sought orders restraining the board of inquiry continuing with its investigation.

The application was brought on grounds including that disciplinary proceedings cannot be brought against a member if the inquiry involves the same issues of which the member has been acquitted.

Lawyers for the gardaí argued it would be oppressive and unfair and contrary to disciplinary regulations to allow the inquiry proceed because the surrounding facts before the board of inquiry and the District Court were the same.

They also argued the disciplinary board had failed to call evidence regarding the criminal case before Limerick District Court, which amounted to a failure to inquire into all relevant facts.

The commissioner opposed the proceedings and argued that the inquiry should be allowed progress.

Giving his High Court decision, Mr Justice White said that, while the case raised issues that had not been before the courts before, he was satisfied to dismiss the application.