Garda admits false complaint
A female garda who made a false complaint to colleagues that she had been attacked in a taxi by the driver and two other men has had her sentencing at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court adjourned until next month.
Niamh OConnor (25), originally from Wexford and serving in Bray, Co. Wicklow at the time of the offence, had previously been disciplined by gardai in early 2007 for dialling 999 and falsely claiming she had been beaten up after locking herself out of her home.
OConnor, with addresses at Grange Lower, Rathnure, Enniscorthy, and College Park Avenue, Ballinteer, had been a garda for three and a half years and was suspended from her duties earlier this year.
OConnor pleaded guilty to making a false statement at Donnybrook Garda Station on December 28th, 2007 intending to show that an offence had been committed. The maximum penalty is five years imprisonment.
Judge Katherine Delahunt adjourned sentencing until early July to allow her consider the case.
Sergeant Ronan Muldoon told Mr Sean Guerin BL, prosecuting, that OConnor left the company of friends in a nightclub on Harcourt Street at about 3 am after a nights socialising and hailed a taxi alone.
She rang Bray garda station at 4am in a distressed state and when Gardai attended at her Dublin address she alleged she had been attacked in a taxi in Herbert Park by three men on her way home from a night out.
OConnor showed them a pair of torn tights and a torn dress. She insisted on accompanying the gardai to Kevin Street gardai station but once there said she did not wish make a statement and just wanted people to be aware.
When OConnor was contacted the following day by gardai from Donnybrook she told them she wished to forget about it but later agreed to make a statement.
Sgt Muldoon said OConnor made a detailed four page statement describing how she had hailed a taxi and asked the driver to take her to Dundrum. The driver asked her if it was all right if he dropped a passenger in Rathmines first.
She said she fell asleep and when she awoke, the car was stopped and the male passenger still in the front.
OConnor said a third man climbed out of the car boot and she was attacked but fought her way out of the car.
Sgt Muldoon said it was explained to OConnor that if there was a prosecution there would have to be full disclosure of her previous false complaint and at this point she admitted the story was false.
OConnor told garda the taxi driver threw her a dirty look after breaking suddenly and she wanted to pay him back. She told them: When I have a lot of drinks something inside me snaps ; and said the situation had snowballed out of control and I could not stop it.
Sgt Muldoon said OConnor told gardai that she had had not been mentally right since the firemen were burned in Bray. OConnor had attended the scene when two firemen were killed in a fire at a factory in Bray in September 2007.
He said Donnybrook garda station were investigating seven burglaries, two robberies, two assaults, and numerous thefts and incidents of criminal damage when OConnor made her complaint.
Sgt Muldoon agreed with Mr Remy Farrell BL, defending, that gardai disciplinary proceedings had been adjourned until after sentencing but they could lead to her dismissal. He agreed that she has been previously commended for actions on duty.
Mr Farrell said OConnor, a member of a Wexford All Ireland winning Camogie team, had been burning the candle at both ends through her work and through her many outside interests such as sport, her local musical society and significant charitable work.
He said she was realistic and had been training as a beauty therapist.
He said she had already been punished to a significant degree by the loss of her career and regard. He said no one had been named by her although a considerable amount of gardai time had gone into the investigation.