10 Aug 2022

Dundalk court: Called garda 'a corrupt b**stard'

Dundalk court: Called garda 'a corrupt b**stard'

Dundalk courthouse

A 38 year old man who was excluded from his own contested hearing after he called a garda ‘a corrupt b**tard’, had the case against him dismissed last week, after his Defence barrister argued the Garda who brought the alleged evidence to the Forensic Science Ireland lab, should have been called as a witness.

Damien Clarke with an address at the time at St. Joseph’s Homeless Aid, Drogheda was prosecuted in the local district court for unlawful possession of drugs on the Avenue Road, Dundalk on February 18th 2019.
A member of the Dundalk district drugs unit gave evidence of the defendant dropping a plastic item on the ground on seeing the patrol car around 8.20pm.

After detecting a smell of cannabis off him, he searched the defendant under the misuse of drugs act. Nothing was found on him, but the garda said he suspected that the brown wrap that was retrieved was diamorphine – more commonly known as heroin.

He claimed the defendant confirmed he had dropped the wrap and said it was for his own personal use and he signed the admission in his garda notebook.

The witness added he placed the drugs into the evidence back and received a certificate from the FSI lab, confirming the substance was heroin.

He said it was worth €50 but alleged Mr. Clarke had said €20.

The Defence barrister told the court his client denies signing the notebook or making any admissions whatsoever, but the Garda replied “That’s his signature there”.

The barrister argued the Garda who had taken the evidence bag to the lab should have been present to give evidence to confirm there was no break in the chain of custody.

Although Insp. Darren Kirwan argued that the certificate before the court matches the sealed evidence bag, Judge John Brennan said he accepted the submission and found “the chain of evidence is not complete”.

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