Suspended sentence for leaked report

 

A former detective garda who admitted leaking a confidential report to the media has been given a 12-month suspended jail sentence and a €5,000 fine.

Robert McNulty (50), of Boden Park, Rathfarnham, leaked the draft contents of a 2006 public inquiry into the Dean Lyons case to Evening Heraldreporter Mick McCaffrey. He was one of 15 people who had been given a copy of the draft report.

Judge Desmond Hogan said McNulty's actions were a "serious breach of his obligations as a garda".

McNulty, who rose to the rank of detective sergeant, was at the centre of an internal investigation by gardaí and then a public inquiry by the now Mr Justice George Bermingham into the treatment of a homeless drug addict Dean Lyons.

Lyons made a false confession to the murder of two women in Grangegorman, Co Dublin, in 1997.

McNulty's own defence counsel Padraig Dwyer SC had told the Circuit Criminal Court that his client was "obsessed" with vindicating his own reputation. Both the draft and final reports vindicated McNulty.

Judge Hogan said he had considered a custodial sentence for McNulty because the leaking of the report was a "most serious matter".

However, he said McNulty had now lost a "steady job and a regular income" and, even had he stayed in the gardai, his prospects of promotion would have been "greatly diminished".

Had he not leaked the report he would not have been in the trouble he is in today, the judge stressed. "It is a loss he must bear as a result of his activities."

The passages in the report, which McNulty had leaked, pertained only to himself and did not impact on others named in it, the judge added.

He said a custodial sentence was not appropriate. Judge Hogan gave him a 12-month suspended sentence on condition that McNulty enter into a bond of €1,000 to keep the peace and be of good behaviour. He was also fined €5,000.

McNulty left the Four Courts and walked straight into the Bridewell Garda station. He refused to comment on the sentence.