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Garda sanctioned for failing to investigate assault on minor in ‘timely manner’

1,756 complaints made by members of the public about Gardai were opened by GSOC in 2019

A Garda was sanctioned after they failed to investigate a complaint over the sexual assault of a minor in a timely fashion, according to a report from the Ombudsman.

According to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) annual report for 2019, some 1,756 complaints were opened last year – with 2,885 allegations contained in those complaints.

Some 96 sanctions were issued to Gardai last year following disciplinary investigations, with 32 instances where members of the force had their pay temporarily reduced.

The report said a Garda member was found to be in breach of discipline regulations for neglect of duty and disobedience of orders after they failed to investigate a complaint of sexual assault of a minor in a timely fashion.

The investigation began after a member of the public complained to GSOC about the length of time it took for gardai to investigate allegations he had made.

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The GSOC offices in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

The GSOC offices in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

PA

The GSOC offices in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

He also complained he had not been kept informed of the investigation into his complaint, nor had he been updated as to the direction of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

The complainant alleged that a relative, who was a child, was being groomed by a man.

The complainant claimed that the garda he spoke to said he would send a file to the DPP.

However, when the complainant contacted the DPP, he was told a file had not been sent.

The garda had interviewed the child who said the relationship was consensual, and did not want garda involvement.

Disciplinary proceedings were taken by An Garda Siochana and the Garda member was sanctioned.

The report also noted GSOC’s concern about the fact that the force continues to conduct criminal investigations of its own members, without the knowledge or participation of GSOC.

“The issue has been raised by the Ombudsman Commission in discussions with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and in the context of discussions on forthcoming legislation which will replace the Garda Siochana Act, 2005,” reads the report.

“The Ombudsman Commission believes the new legislation should make explicit provision for independent oversight of all complaints against Garda members regardless of the origin of the complaint.”

PA