Commissioner Fachtna Murphy

THE Garda commissioner is due to be presented with an extensive file into alleged criminal malpractice and indiscipline by gardaí in the Cavan/Monaghan district that highlights several potentially criminal acts by gardaí.

An Garda Síochána and the Minister for Justice are also facing a number of High Court legal actions claiming malicious prosecution, sexual harassment and bullying by gardaí in the Bailieborough district.

A major internal garda investigation was launched in May 2008 into allegations of criminal malpractice and indiscipline in the district. The investigation team has probed a claim that gardaí posted information about a victim of domestic violence onto Bebo, the social-networking website.

Also under investigation are claims that officers covered up crimes and were unwilling to carry out proper investigations into certain serious crimes including a sexual assault and physical assaults.

It has also been alleged that some officers regularly turned up drunk to work and failed to investigate a case of false imprisonment and hijacking.

It has been alleged in one case that gardaí arranged for money to be paid in compensation to a woman who reported she had been sexually assaulted, rather than sending a file to the DPP about the incident.

The internal inquiry into activities in the Cavan/Monaghan division is being led by Donegal Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn. She has now effectively completed the probe and is due to report a number of startling findings regarding garda behaviour to Commissioner Fachtna Murphy early in the New Year, it is understood.

The investigation was launched after a garda used the whistleblowers' charter to make several serious allegations against his colleagues.

As well as taking statements from this officer, the inquiry team has spoken extensively to a female garda who has also made allegations against certain gardaí, including sexual harassment and intimidation.

It is understood that senior gardaí are troubled by some of the allegations and the damage it could do to the reputation of the force.

The Sunday Tribune has established that at least two gardaí have lodged High Court civil actions against An Garda Síochána and the minister for justice for alleged intimidation, bullying and sexual harassment by other officers in the Bailieborough district.

A local couple have also taken a case against gardaí at Bailieborough claiming that they were wrongly charged with a crime. The couple were summoned to appear in court to answer charges of serious assault but the DPP later directed that the charges be struck out as there was no evidence whatsoever to prove assault. The couple also claim gardaí have repeatedly harassed them as well as attempted to intimidate them.

It has also emerged that the husband of murdered mother-of-two Sylvia Roche Kelly is suing the state for alleged garda negligence, and among those accused of dereliction of duty are officers from Bailieborough. The 33-year-old was murdered following a brutal attack by Gerard McGrath at Limerick's Clarion Hotel in December 2007. He was sentenced to life for her murder in January. Seven months earlier, McGrath was granted bail having been charged in connection with an attack on a woman taxi driver in Bailieborough.

It will be alleged that gardaí at Bailieborough failed to investigate the attack on the woman taxi driver thoroughly. The taxi driver was not given the opportunity by gardaí to testify against McGrath in court and give evidence about how he dragged her from her taxi, choked her and threatened to kill her.