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Garda with early onset dementia who harassed female sergeant on Facebook committed to mental hospital

Garda Donal Maguire was found not guilty by reason of insanity last month.

Image: Shutterstock/Evan Lorne

A GARDA WITH early onset dementia who harassed a married female sergeant has been committed to the Central Mental Hospital (CMH).

Garda Donal Maguire, 40, a married man with two children, was found not guilty by reason of insanity last month. His trial heard he sent the woman a Valentine’s Card, numerous emails and a friend request on Facebook despite having been warned by his superiors not to have any contact with her.

He had sent the emails via the garda Pulse system leading to him having his access revoked. He continued to try and contact the woman, despite giving an oral undertaking to stop his behaviour and was ultimately transferred to another garda station.

Gda Maguire, 40, of Bundoran, Co. Donegal had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court by reason of insanity to two counts of harassing the woman at a location in Dublin on dates between 18 February and 11 March 2012 and between 1 August 2012 and 4 February 2013.

‘Not guilty by reason of insanity’ 

The jury of nine men and three women returned a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity following an hour of deliberations.

Two forensic psychiatrists told the trial that Garda Maguire was suffering from a mental disorder at the time and lacked the ability to form intent, as set out under the Criminal Law (Insanity) Act 2006.

The jury heard that Garda Maguire had been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, which at his age was considered early onset dementia. The symptoms include erotomania, a delusion in which a person believes that another person, typically of a higher social status, is in love with them.

The disorder also meant that Garda Maguire was increasingly inappropriate in his actions, had a loss of empathy, was unable to understand the impact of his behaviour, has a lack of judgement and an inability to inhibit his own actions as well as a lack of interest in his personal hygiene.

The court heard that the harassment impacted on the woman’s work and family life and caused her great stress. She felt physically sick, annoyed and concerned on receiving the communications from Garda Maguire.

She was granted annual leave following the Facebook contact from Garda Maguire because her superiors believed she was not in “a fit position to do her work”.

Lack of social awareness

Today Judge Elma Sheahan heard from Doctor Damian Mohan who has been treating Garda Maguire at the CMH. The judge had ordered that a report be compiled from the CMH when the verdict was delivered by the jury earlier this month.

Dr Mohan said he met with Garda Maguire on 22 June 2016 last for assessment.

He told Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting that he was satisfied that Garda Maguire continued to suffer from a mental disorder as defined by the act. He said the disorder impaired the man’s thinking, perception, emotion and judgement and he had difficulty planning.

He said clinically Garda Maguire had an impairment of his frontotemporal lobe which meant he had poor judgement, poor impulse control and a lack of social awareness. He added that there had been some improvement which could be attributed to his treatment at the CMH and his anti-psychotic medication.

Dr Mohan concluded that he was satisfied that Garda Maguire was in need of treatment at designated centre such as the CMH. He recommended that he be returned there.

The doctor agreed with Ronan Kennedy BL, defending that Garda Maguire was extremely polite and courteous at all times and accepted that he was in need of treatment. He described him as engaging and said he was very keen to work on his rehabilitation.

He said Garda Maguire accepted that his judgement was impaired at the time of his offending behaviour.

Judge Sheahan said she was satisfied that Garda Maguire was suffering from a mental disorder and that he should be committed to a special designated centre. She ordered that he be detained at the CMH for inpatient care and treatment until further order.

Unwelcome advances 

The court heard that both Garda Maguire’s mother and his wife noticed a change in his behaviour from 2010, shortly after the birth of his first child, when he started making bizarre statements and laughing inappropriately.

In his first referral to have it investigated, a psychiatrist noted that Garda Maguire had disorganised thinking and unusual speech.

Detective Superintendent Walter O’Sullivan outlined the facts of the harassment to the jury.

Det Supt O’Sullivan said Garda Maguire first met the sergeant at the Dublin Garda Station he was working from in 2011. She believed there was nothing personal in their interaction.

He sent the woman a Valentine’s Card in February 2012 and she spoke with him privately and told him that his attention to her was inappropriate, unwanted and unwelcome.

She believed that this would be the end of the matter but Garda Maguire continued to contact her through email via the garda pulse system.

She reported the emails to superior colleagues and Garda Maguire was disciplined and told not to contact her again. The emails continued which resulted in his access to the pulse system being revoked.

Garda Maguire then turned up at the garda station where she worked and specifically asked for her. He was again cautioned not to contact the woman.

Three weeks later he turned up at a garda 10km race she was running in and was noticed by other colleagues to be staring at her.

Again his superiors met with him and he gave an oral undertaking not to have any further contact with the woman. Two weeks later she received a friend request from him on Facebook.

This was the final contact before seriousness of the harassment was escalated and investigated as a criminal offence.

Read: Garda harassed female sergeant by sending her card, emails and Facebook request

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About the author:

Sonya McLean and Conor Gallagher

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