Psychiatrist tells trial: Garda couldn't stop harassing superior due to mental disorder

The County Donegal officer has pleaded not guilty of harassment by reason of insanity

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A psychiatrist has told the trial of a Garda accused of harassing his superior officer that he was unable to stop himself because of a mental disorder.

Donal Maguire, who’s from Bundoran in Co. Donegal and used to work at Áras an Uachtaráin, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

The harassment happened on various dates between February 2012 and February 2013.

The court heard Donal Maguire became infatuated with one of his superior officers, sending her a Valentine’s Day card that year and bombarded her with emails over the Garda PULSE system.

Both were married with children and she approached him when the harassment first started to tell him his advances were not welcome.

He promised her he’d stop but the emails continued.

She went to her Inspector who cautioned Garda Maguire, and she didn’t hear from him for six months.

He resumed contact in August 2012 and asked her to meet for coffee. She was annoyed and decided to make a formal complaint.

Despite several warnings to leave her alone, he showed up at a race she was competing in and a criminal investigation was opened when he later sent her a Facebook friend request.

Dr. Brenda Wright, a forensic psychiatrist, told his trial today that she believes he was suffering from a form of dementia that affected his judgement and behaviour.

She found he had erotomania beliefs – a delusion whereby a person believes that another person, who is typically of higher social status, is in love with them.

Dr. Wright concluded he did satisfy the criteria for the special verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. A psychiatrist, who gave evidence on behalf of the defence, came to the same conclusion.

The jurors are hearing closing speeches now and will soon begin their deliberations.