Solicitor applies to cease to represent garda

A curious development.

The solicitor for a former garda applied yesterday to cease to represent him, saying his client was in St Patrick’s Psychiatric Hospital.

Retired garda John Nicholson was due to be recalled as a witness yesterday. He pleaded guilty in 2002 and was prosecuted for submitting forged statements of loss of earnings. These were for Bernard Conlon for court appearances in a licensing case against the McBreartys in Co Donegal.

Tom Murphy, solicitor for a number of gardaa­ besides Mr Nicholson, said yesterday he wished to no longer represent him.

Mr Justice Frederick Morris, chairman, said he could only make an order allowing Mr Murphy to come off record if he was satisfied it was appropriate to do so. The reasons should be set out in an affidavit.

“I don’t want to breach confidentiality but I understand that he is at the moment in St Patrick’s hospital, and I feel it is appropriate that if the reason is because of his detention in that institution that I would be grateful if you could provide a medical certificate in the affidavit confirming that fact.”

The chairman said if he had Mr Murphy’s consent he proposed to ask their own medical adviser to examine Mr Nicholson and ensure the order was correct.

Mr Murphy confirmed his client was in St Patrick’s and said he would draft the affidavit and get specific instructions on having the tribunal’s medical adviser examine his client.