Senior Garda management apologises to District Court judge

Senior Garda management apologises to District Court judge

Senior Garda management have apologised to a District Court judge for “inadvertently” barring the public from a Co Waterford court.

Deputy Garda Commissioner Anne Marie McMahon said “due to an error on the part of members of An Garda Síochána on duty” at Dungarvan District Court on October 13th last year, the public and journalists were prevented from entering the court chamber.

It marks a reversal of An Garda Síochána’s past stance that gardaí had “cleared the court as requested by the judge”, which the Courts Service maintained was never ordered by Mr Justice Brian O’Shea.

The barring lasted around three hours and concerned a hearing where a man was charged with allegedly using threatening language against the family member of a local Garda during a row between neighbours.

The Garda Press Office had insisted gardaí had been directed to remove the public and that two journalists attending court had also been “inadvertently” excluded due to a misunderstanding.

“I have been appraised of the unfortunate events which occurred at Dungarvan Courthouse on the 13th October,” Ms McMahon told the judge and Courts Service this week.

“During your hearing of preliminary matters in relation to the DPP (Garda Tom Daly) V Kieran Hartley for an offence contrary to Section 6 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act, 1994, the public and bona fides representatives of the press were inadvertently excluded from your Court that morning, due to an error on the part of members of An Garda Síochána on duty at the Court.

“An Garda Síochána accepts that due to this error, justice was not on this occasion administered in public. On behalf of An Garda Síochána, I wish to apologise for this error.”

The Courts Service confirmed receipt and the contents of the letter. It made no further comment.

The case involved Kieran Hartley, who appeared before Judge O’Shea in October charged

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