Raided Dublin practice sues Garda after 'media circus'

A FIRM of solicitors in Dublin raided by the Garda in a search which was splashed across the front pages of the Irish press last year has now been awarded £100,000 damages.

Solicitors Michael E Hanahoe & Co sued the State and Garda Commissioner Patrick Byrne, claiming Garda officers had tipped off the press about the raid, which was conducted in front of a “media circus” of photo graphers, television crews and reporters.

The Garda raided the Parliament Street offices for files on Dublin couple, John and Geraldine Gilligan – currently subject to investigations into money laundering and drug trafficking.

Senior officers told the court they feared Gilligan might have torched Hanahoe's offices to destroy the files, had the firm told him the Garda requested the information, leaving the Garda no option but to raid.

But Mr Justice Kinlen ruled in the Irish High Court that “the deliberate leaking of the planned search was intended to embarrass and distress [Hanahoe & Co], and the harm done was probably irreparable”.

Praising criminal lawyers, Mr Justice Kinlen added: “It is essential that lawyers of the highest ability should be available to provide a full and proper defence to persons accused of criminal offences… sometimes lawyers are identified with clients, which violates UN principles on the role of lawyers.”