Cork man confesses to intimidating garda and trying to pervert the course of justice 

Garda Goggin said the false allegations made against him by the man made it hard for him to leave home because he didn’t know what people in the community had heard.
Cork man confesses to intimidating garda and trying to pervert the course of justice 

Judge Helen Boyle imposed a three-year sentence on Lewis, suspended the last two years and backdated the sentence to February when Lewis went into custody at Cork Circuit Criminal Court. Picture: iStock

A Youghal man alleged that a member of the garda drug unit in the town was caught on video taking cocaine and had planted drugs on him but now he has confessed to intimidating the guard and trying to pervert the course of justice.

38-year-old Joseph Lewis of 20 Chestnut Drive, Youghal, County Cork, was about to stand trial on the charge but he changed his plea to guilty at the last moment. He apologised to the officer whom he threatened and intimidated – Garda Jason Goggin.

Judge Helen Boyle imposed a three-year sentence on Lewis, suspended the last two years and backdated the sentence to February when Lewis went into custody at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

Detective Sergeant Gerard O’Shaughnessy said the injured party in the case, Garda Jason Goggin, had been involved in the investigation of drug-dealing and related activities in the Youghal area as part of the divisional drugs unit.

In September 2020, Lewis had over 8,000 tablets seized from him in Youghal. He also pleaded guilty on Thursday to putting the tablets on the market without a pharmacist’s licence which would have been required as they contained the prescription-only product Etizolam.

Det. Sgt. O’Shaughnessy said Joseph Lewis approached Garda Goggin at Redbarn in Youghal on January 19 this year.

He threatened and intimidated the officer by alleging he had a video of him taking cocaine. He said he was going to make a report of this allegation to GSOC, the garda ombudsman, and that he was going to post the allegation online. He also alleged that Garda Goggin had planted drugs in his pocket and he was also going to report this.

Victim impact statement 

Garda Goggin said in his victim impact statement that not alone did Lewis make these allegations at Redbarn in January and on a number of other occasions but he also went online with his allegations. “He put up a Facebook post about me saying I was a drug user,” Garda Goggin said.

Garda Goggin said the stress and anxiety this intimidation caused for him and his partner resulted in them moving house and he went to counselling for months, not to mention having to go to the High Court in Dublin ten times in relation to the case.

Garda Goggin said the false allegations made against him by Lewis made it hard for him to leave home because he didn’t know what people in the community had heard. He said he had a very good relationship with the people of Youghal and that he would carry on performing his duties to the best of his abilities.

A very serious offence 

Judge Boyle described him as an excellent member of An Garda Síochána and that the false allegations made by Lewis against him had put him through a very difficult time in his life.

The judge described it as a very serious offence and a condition of the suspension of the last two years of the sentence was that he would not have any contact, direct or indirect, with Garda Goggin or his partner and would not post anything about him online.

Joseph Lewis admitted threatening, menacing, intimidating and putting in fear a person assisting in the investigation of an offence.

The particulars of the charge stated that on January 19 2021 at Redbarn, Youghal, County Cork, he made reference to a video in which Garda Jason Goggin was allegedly taking illegal substances, and by being highly abusive to him and by accusing him of planting illegal substances in his pocket, and by saying he would make complaints against him with the intention of causing the investigation/the course of justice to be obstructed.

Lewis also pleaded guilty to placing on the market a medicinal product containing the prescription-only product Etizolam without a licence.

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