A CO Donegal garda sergeant has lost his High Court bid aimed at quashing the Garda Ombudsman’s decision to investigate allegations that the Sergeant harassed a man over a four-year period.

Sergeant Oliver Moran, Kilmacrennan garda station is also disputing the Garda Ombudsman Commission’s decision extending the six-month time limit for completion of an investigation into a complaint by Mr Josie Kelly that he was harassed between 2003 and 2007.

In his judicial review proceedings, Sgt Moran is seeking various orders and declarations, including an order quashing the decision that the complaint was admissible.

In opposing the proceedings, the Commission contends its decision that the complaint was admissible was rational, cogent and adequate.

Today in his judgement, Mr Justice John Hedigan said that he was satisfied to dismiss Stg. Moran’s action. The judge held that the Ombudsman’s decision to extend time in this instance was fair and reasonable.

The judge also ruled that the Ombudsman was not obliged to request Sgt. Moran to make submissions as to whether it should exercise its discretion to extend time to allow it embark on an investigation of the complaints.

Sgt Moran, who has been stationed at Kilmacrennan since 1998, argued the Garda Ombudsman lacked jurisdiction to make the decision extending time to investigate the complaint.

Under the relevant law, an investigation must be conducted within six months of a complaint being made to the Ombudsman and that six-month period may only be extended in exceptional circumstances, counsel said.

The court heard Mr Kelly, Castledoe, Creeslough, made a complaint to the Garda Ombudsman last February that he was harassed between 2003 and 2007 by Sgt. Moran.

Mr Kelly also complained he was assaulted by other members of the Gardaí in 2009 while in custody at Letterkenny garda station. No claim of assault was made against Sgt. Moran.

In his judgement, Mr Justice Hedigan said that he was not satisfied that Stg Moran had advanced grounds to successfully challenge the Ombudsman’s decision to extend time.

He accepted the Ombudsman’s evidence that time was extended by reason of the nature of the complaint, which was one of alleged harassment.

The Ombudsman’s decision to extend time, the Judge said, was “rational based” on the concern that if there had been a campaign of harassment it would escape scrutiny if the Ombudsman failed to consider that individual acts might form part of a continuum of misbehaviour.

He further rejected the claim that the Ombudsman was obliged to request submissions from Stg Moran before deciding to extend time.

The judge also considered that Stg Moran’s claim that inadequate reasons were given for the the extension of time as “unfounded.”


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