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'600 lines of inquiry' in retired garda cannabis probe, court hears

Retired Superintendent John Murphy, 61, was charged with possessing cannabis worth over €13,000 at his home.

Image: Leah Farrell

THERE were more than 600 lines of inquiry in the case file of a retired Garda Superintendent charged over a drug seizure in Dublin, a judge has heard.

The Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (GNBCI) allegedly found cannabis herb during a search operation on 29 September.

John Murphy, 61, was charged with possessing cannabis worth over €13,000 at his home in a north Dublin suburb.

The offence is contrary to Section 15A of the Misuse of Drugs Act which can carry a 10-year sentence. He has not yet indicated how he will plead.

On 4 October, bail was set in his bond of €500, but a €20,000 independent surety must be approved. He has not taken it up yet.

The case had been adjourned until today at Cloverhill District Court for directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). Murphy, still in custody, appeared via video link.

Detective Sergeant Brian Hanley told Judge Victor Blake that he needed more time. Noting the case commenced more than two months ago, the judge inquired about the status of the file preparation.

Detective Sergeant Hanley told the court that it had not been sent to the DPP, but it was at “an advanced stage”.

He said it encompassed the full investigation and a number of offences to be considered. He expected to submit it within two weeks.

There were 50 statements, two officers working full time preparing the file and “in excess of 600 lines of inquiry”.

Detective Sergeant Hanley had told the court earlier that directions would be sought about “possible further charges”.

Defence solicitor Robert Purcell said his client consented to the adjournment.

Judge Blake ordered the case would be listed in two weeks for mention.

Murphy, who spoke only to greet the judge at the start of the hearing, was further remanded in custody with consent to bail.

On 5 November, the court granted the former senior garda legal aid. It followed an application from his solicitor, who said the request was “based on the seriousness of the charges and his financial circumstances”.

Documentation supporting the application was furnished to the court and the GNBCI.

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Detective Sergeant Hanley agreed on bail terms with the defence at the first hearing in October. He did not read out Murphy’s address for his security.

Murphy must not contact four people, but they cannot be named for the same reason.

Gardaí have seized his passport.

If he takes up bail, he must reside at an address provided, sign on daily at a garda station, and not apply for a duplicate passport.

He has to provide gardaí with a contact phone number within 24 hours of release.

Mr Murphy “made no reply after caution” when charged.

About the author:

Tom Tuite

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