Assistant Garda Commissioner's injunction application to lift suspension from duty to be heard in February

An application by Assistant Garda Commissioner John Fintan Fanning for a High Court injunction lifting his suspension from duty pending the outcome of an investigation has been listed for hearing next month.

The Assistant Commissioner Fanning has challenged his suspension, pending an investigation by the by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, (GSOC) on January 3rd last.

He says his suspension is unfair, and unlawful and seeks. orders lifting his suspension pending the outcome of his challenge, restraining the Commissioner communicating "false" information concerning him and directing the Commissioner to co-operate with the GSOC investigation.

He is also claiming damages.

The court previously granted his lawyers permission to serve short notice of his proceedings against the Commissioner.

The matter was briefly mentioned before Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds at the High Court this morning, The judge agreed the Assitant Commissioner's application for an injunction to be put in place pending the final outcome of his action will go ahead on February 13 next.

The Judge listed the matter for hearing after Shane Murphy SC for the Garda Commissioner and Paul McGarry SC for the Assistant Commissioner said that a timetable for the exchange of sworn statements in the case had been agreed between the parties.

The hearing, which will be subject to the availability of judges, is expected to last for half a day, Mr McGarry added.

In his action, Mr Fanning claims his suspension breaches fair procedures and Garda rules.

He is due to retire in August after almost 39 years in the force, has held several high-profile posts, including chief superintendent of the Dublin South Central Division and regional commander for the Northern and Eastern Regions.

He said in a sworn statement that he became aware last month that GSOC had received a protected disclosure made by a rank-and-file Garda, and he was asked by GSOC to provide certain information within 30 days.

The Assistant Commissioner provided that by December 20, 2018, and that same day GSOC served a notice stating it had received a complaint under the Protected Disclosures Act and had commenced a public interest investigation.

The notice informed him the complainant Garda alleged that on a date in November 2017, he was contacted directly by another Garda officer and told he was no longer on a specialist firearms course following an intervention by Mr Fanning.

The second allegation concerned an incident in December 2017 involving an assault and the Garda claimed he was the victim in the incident.

The complainant claimed he was initially placed on restricted non-confrontational duties and later served with the force's disciplinary documentation.

The complainant claimed he was suspended from duty, following a recommendation by Mr Fanning, and treated as a suspect.

Mr Fanning rejects all allegations of wrongdoing and was taken aback by the claims.

He said he had no role in the selection process for the firearms course but had reported concerns by various officers about a Garda who had not passed the course selection process.

He said the complainant's second allegation referred to an investigation into an allegation the complainant Garda had been involved in an assault on a female at a hotel.

His own involvement was in the usual way of managing the file and forwarding it to his superiors, including his recommendation the Garda be suspended.

He had no concerns whatsoever about the probity of his role.

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