Gsoc notes that garda received 15 reminders to progress rape inquiry

Officer took statement from woman ‘but did nothing further’ with it, according to report

Most of the grievances to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission related to abuse of authority, neglect of duty, discourtesy and non-fatal offences. Photograph: The Irish Times

Most of the grievances to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission related to abuse of authority, neglect of duty, discourtesy and non-fatal offences. Photograph: The Irish Times

 

A garda received 15 reminders to progress an investigation into a rape allegation but they were not “acted upon”, according to a report of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc).

The woman involved complained to the commission last year that she made a statement to two gardaí about a rape. But the report was not investigated, neither was any contact made following the statement.

The commission found that the investigating garda took a statement from the woman “but did nothing further”with it. The officer maintained the matter was referred to the detective branch for further inquiries but no proof of this referral was found.

“The records did show that the investigating garda received 15 separate reminders to progress the allegation. But none of the reminders were acted upon,” noted the commission’s annual report.

It found there was “sufficient evidence” to indicate a breach of discipline may have occurred. And, in a report sent to Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, a recommendation was made that he take disciplinary action against the investigating garda.

The commission’s inquiry found a second garda was present when the statement was taken but had no further dealings with the case and was “unaware of the lack of progress”.

The commission recommended that no disciplinary action be instituted against this officer.

Almost 2,000 complaints about gardaí were received by the commission last year, according to its annual report. There were 2,944 allegations contained within 1,921 complaints, a 1.4 per cent reduction in the number of complaints on the previous year.

Most of the grievances related to abuse of authority, neglect of duty, discourtesy and non-fatal offences.

A total of 74 sanctions were imposed by the Garda Commissioner on individual members of the force while 415 criminal investigations were opened. There were 24 protected disclosures made to the commission by members and/or employees of the force.

Greatest number of allegations

The commission received 38 referrals from the gardaí of matters where it appears “the conduct of a member of the Garda Síochána may have resulted in the death of, or serious harm to, a person”. Fifteen of these referrals related to fatalities.

The report said 17 files were referred to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, resulting in four directions to prosecute, nine for no prosecution and four decisions pending.

The greatest number of allegations in the country were recorded against gardaí in the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR).

The highest numbers came from DMR north and DMR west. Outside the Dublin Metropolitan Region, Limerick and Cork city were the divisions with the highest number of allegations made against gardaí last year.

The report stated that the challenge of information sharing between the force and the commission “continues daily”.

“A continuing concern for Gsoc is the failure to notify Gsoc of complaints against Garda members,” it added. “It is the experience of Gsoc that the media can provide notice of alleged misconduct to the public, and to Gsoc, where no such notice has previously been made to Gsoc by the Garda organisation.”

Gsoc also noted that gardaí investigating themselves run the risk that such an investigation is seen “as neither full nor fair”.