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GSOC probes whether gardai committed offence in Browne death

Mourners outside St Josephs Church in Galliagh following the funeral of Rebecca Browne (Claudia Savage/PA)
Cillian Sherlock, PA

The Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commmission (GSOC) is investigating whether an offence was committed by a member of An Garda Siochana when a 21-year-old woman was killed in a collision with a patrol car.

Rebecca Browne, from Galliagh, Co Derry, was on a night out in Buncrana, Co Donegal, when she was hit by the garda car early on a Sunday morning in May.

A solicitor for the family said GSOC initially launched an investigation into whether the actions of a Garda member may amount to breaches of discipline.

He said that after a review of evidence it was deemed more appropriate to re-designate the investigation.

Conor Moylan, of Madden & Finucane solicitors, said: “The family of Ms Browne have had concerns surrounding the tragedy from the outset and want the circumstances to be investigated rigorously.

“We will continue to work closely with the family to ensure a full and proper investigation is carried out.”

Rachel Lynn Smith, mother of Ms Browne, said: “We are pleased to hear that the investigation is being taken seriously by the Garda Ombudsman.

“We are eager to find out what occurred on the night of Rebecca’s death. We miss our daughter dearly and can only hope that justice will be served.”

GSOC confirmed the matter is under investigation, pursuant to Section 98 of the Garda Siochana Act, 2005.

That act provides for gardai to refer any matter to GSOC that appear to indicate that the conduct of a member of the Garda Siochana may have resulted in the death of, or serious harm to, a person.

Section 98 lays out the investigative powers of GSOC-designated officers where the matter being investigated appears to involve an offence.

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