Explosive claims of Garda collusion and direct involvement in the distribution of illegal drugs have been made last week in an ongoing High Court case. “Former Garda, Jack Doyle, has the Legal Right, to be Heard, that many Former, Gardaí, are Alleged to have been Involved in Smuggling Drugs into Ireland? Harris cannot Rule our Courts, this is not North Korea, or China……” was the response to Garda Commissioner Harris’s bid to block the ongoing lawsuit involving a claim that Gardaí colluded with an allowed gang to import drugs as well as becoming centrally involved themselves.
A Six Gardaí Drug Gang
A judge heard allegations that a number of Garda officers supervised the importation and controlled the shipment and distribution of drugs to dealers. A now retired detective sergeant referred to by the Judge as ‘Detective Sergeant A’ who later rose to a senior Garda position was identified as being “centrally involved” in an affidavit. He claims to have no memory of the events described in the document. He is but one of six former Gardaí all who claim that due to or ill-health or the passage of time that they cannot remember drug operations in the south of the country including other events alleged by Mr Doyle. Mr Doyle’s lawyers Pat McMyler, of PA Dorrian & Co Solicitors said that an informant’s affidavit wholly undermines Detective Sergeant A’s claim that he cannot remember various events. In light of the new informant’s allegations he said it was “beyond belief” that Detective Sergeant A would not have a sufficient recall of the matters dealing with Mr Doyle’s claim. “It is clear [that Detective Sergeant A] was centrally involved with the same characters and the same modus operandi for some significant time after the dismissal of the plaintiff,” he said.
The allegations are contained in the claim being made by Mr Jack Doyle (69) relating to the events of a period of time between 1997 and 2014, which were outlined by Mr Justice Conor Dignam in a ruling in which he allowed the submission of the late arrived additional affidavit in the civil action being taken against the Garda commissioner the Minister for Justice and the State by former Garda Jack Doyle who was stationed in Blarney, Co Cork at the time of the alleged occurrences. The additional affidavit supports the allegations and lends credence to Mr Jack Doyle’s claims.
Forced into Retirement
Jack Doyle who is claiming that there was a conspiracy to force him into early retirement in 1998 is now suing for damages. His enforced retirement came following his raising of concerns that certain Garda officers allowed criminals to receive drug shipments. He is suing the Garda commissioner, the Minister for Justice and the State, claiming that his forced medical discharge in 1998 had a devastating impact on his health and made it difficult for him to obtain work and led him having to sell his home.
Ecstasy and Cocaine
In an affidavit former Garda Doyle said that in 1993, while stationed in Blarney he recruited an informer who provided him with information about people in the drugs trade. He made several serious claims, including that a major seizure in 1995 was a staged operation and only half of the consignment was seized. The remainder, he alleged, was allowed through to the drugs gang. Former Garda Doyle alleged that another consignment was allowed through in its entirety. Mr Doyle alleged that the informant told him that several other “drops”, including consignments of ecstasy and cocaine, had been made with the knowledge of officers more senior to him. It is further claimed that these shipments were not acted upon and as a result drugs ended up on the street. In his affidavit, Mr Doyle said the informant told him a certain criminal “had a senior police officer in his pocket”.
A Separate Affidavit
The case is being taken by former Garda Jack Doyle whose legal team led by Miriam Reilly SC submitted an affidavit from a separate informant who claimed that Garda were involved in drug dealing in the 1990’s. This affidavit was sworn by a person claiming to have formerly worked in the drugs trade “under the supervision and instruction of An Garda Síochána, who controlled what drugs got to what dealers”.
The individual whose affidavit is making the fresh claims has not been identified to the public. He came forward to Mr Doyle’s legal team having read press reports of the case last year. It is said in his affidavit that he did not know and never had any dealings with Mr Doyle. He said however that he was intimately involved in the type of drug operations described by Mr Doyle and he had dealt with many of the same Gardaí and criminals. This man identified Detective Sergeant A as his “contact” and also as the one who was “in charge and made all of the key decisions”. He said that Detective Sergeant A had become less directly involved in 2001, who then handed over the direct involvement to another member of the Gardaí. He contends however that Detective Sergeant A “remained in control and was at various meetings and involved in various decisions and approvals in 2008 and 2012”.
Commissioners Attempt to Stop Case
Lawyers for the Garda commissioner had last year made a court application seeking dismissal of Mr Doyle’s lawsuit, claiming that there was a substantial risk due to the passage of time that there would not be a fair trial. It was said that some witnesses were dead, some were ill and some others were afflicted by memory loss.
The commissioner entered no defence claiming it has not been possible to do so. It was also argued by his legal team that the case which was initially filed back in 2003 should be dismissed on the grounds of delay. It was not until 2018 that a statement of claim was filed. Before Mr Justice Dignam could rule on the dismissal application however, lawyers for Mr Doyle dramatically informed the court that they had new information from a person had come forward. Mr Doyle’s lawyers then applied for permission to adduce further evidence. The commissioner lawyers questioned the relevance of the affidavit claiming that its contents were “hearsay”, “extremely tangential” and that almost all was relating to a time after Mr Doyle was no longer a member of the Gardaí. Mr Justice Dignam said however he was satisfied to grant admittance of the further evidence. In doing so he said matters alleged by Mr Doyle in relation to Detective Sergeant A were “a significant part” of his case and the new allegations “would probably have an important influence on the court’s assessment of whether Detective Sergeant A’s lack of memory of these matters is as significant as claimed”.
The heart of the allegations in Mr Doyle’s lawsuit date back to the mid-1990’s when he claims he had recruited an informer who provided information concerning people in the drugs trade and the planning of shipments. The informant according to Mr Doyle had infiltrated a major drugs gang, who were providing Gardaí, including Detective Sergeant A, with information on major criminals. Mr Doyle claims that in time, his informant became a courier for the gang who imported drugs by ferry with the knowledge and agreement of senior Garda officers.
Staged Drug Seizure
In his pleading, Mr Doyle alleges that a major1995 dugs seizure was a staged event and only half of the consignment was seized. The remainder was allowed to go through to the drugs gang. At the end of 1996, Mr Doyle claims that the informant provided him with information about consignments of ecstasy and cocaine, being allowed through to gangs with the knowledge of Gardaí, including Detective Sergeant A, and while there had been ample opportunities to arrest some of the criminal drug leaders, they were not arrested. Mr Doyle claims also that the informant told him that a certain criminal “had a senior police officer in his pocket”.
The Public Good
Mr Doyle in his action claims that he resolved “to take action, in the public good” and he contacted a customs intelligence officer who was a friend and that he also spoke to a journalist. He alleges that as a result of this that in 1998 he was unlawfully retired on medical grounds and this had a devastating impact on his health, making it difficult for him to obtain work resulting in him having to sell his home.
Reasons for Delay
The court has previously heard that part of the reason for the delay in the case proceeding was that Mr Doyle had pursued other avenues with his case including making a complaint to the Garda Ombudsman, which was ruled inadmissible in 2007. Also the commissioner had failed to initiate an investigation. In 2014 Mr Doyle’s case had also been examined as part of an independent review of multiple cases containing allegations of Garda misconduct or inadequacies. That review recommended no action. Mr Doyle’s counsel, Miriam Reilly SC, said it that it was inconceivable that the State had conducted no investigation to get to the bottom of things. She said that while it was accepted the delay was inordinate, there were factors excusing it and a properly run trial could obviate any prejudice. She also said her client had been “wrongfully kicked out of the Guards” and had “his name blackened”. It was inconceivable, she said, that the State hadn’t conducted an investigation to get to the bottom of things. Mr Justice Dignam reserved judgment to a later date.