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Interference with Prosecutions

I previously wrote on the topic of political interference with prosecutions, following the resignation of Trevor Sargent from his position as Minister for State. Within that post I raised the question of whether the Gardai involved had entertained those communications from Deputy Sargeant, which would be unlawful. The Prosecutions of Offences At does not, however, state that this would be an offence and certainly does not proscribe any penalties for such actions.

Today the Irish Times reports that a woman, suspected to be a serving member of An Garda Siochana, has been arrested in relation to the incident. It is not clear what exactly she has been arrested for, save that it is under s.4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984. Entertaining communications may be considered a disciplinary offence but as it is not a criminal offence, it would not warrant an arrest. It may be that this arrest relates to the leaking of the information, though this is speculative at this point. Nonetheless this is a very interesting development both in terms of the case itself but also for the fact that it is a Guard who has been arrested following an internal investigation. Incidents and scandals in the last decade have shown that while such arrests do occur, they are a rarity.

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