Garda to stand trial accused of using forged letter from DPP’s office

Officer based in Wicklow charged under fraud legislation

A garda is to stand trial accused of using a forged letter purporting to be from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in connection with a criminal investigation.

Catherine McGowan (46), who is attached to a Wicklow Garda station, appeared at Dublin District Court this morning.

She is charged under Section 28 of the Theft and Fraud Offences Act 2001, for using a false instrument, at Bray Garda station, in Co Wicklow, on June 21st, 2011.

The details of her arrest, charge and caution were contained on a certificate which was furnished to Judge Victor Blake by a Garda sergeant.

Her charge states that it is alleged that on June 21st, 2011, she used a copy of letter from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) dated January 14th, 2009, “which was, and which you knew or believed to be, a false instrument with the intention of inducing another person to accept it as genuine and by reason of so accepting the said instrument to do some act or to make some omission, to the prejudice of that or any other person.”

A conviction for this type of offence can result in a fine and/or imprisonment for a term of up to 10 years.

The officer, who is from west Dublin and has not yet entered a plea to the charge, spoke briefly during her court appearance, saying “good morning” to the judge.

During the hearing, State solicitor Tom Conlon told Judge Blake the DPP has directed that Gda McGowan is to face trial on indictment, meaning her case will go before a judge and jury at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

The prosecution lawyer asked for an eight-week adjournment during which time a book of evidence is to be drafted.

Defence solicitor Andrew Freeman said there was consent and Judge Blake extended time for the book of evidence to be served on the Garda who was wearing a black suit, white shirt and had her hair tied back.

She was ordered to appear again on July 19th.