Page last updated at 21:24 GMT, Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Sargent resigns as Irish minister

Trevor Sargent
Trevor Sargent has resigned as a junior minister in the Irish Republic

The former leader of the Green Party in the Irish Republic, Trevor Sargent, has resigned as a junior minister.

He told the Dail he had made "an error of judgement" in contacting police about a case involving a constituent.

Mr Sargent said he had contacted gardaí in relation to an alleged assault on a constituent in September 2007.

He said this person had come to see him in June 2008 to voice his frustration at the slow progress being made with the case.

The constituent alleged he had been head-butted after reporting vandalism to the parents of a child he had seen trying to remove a road sign.

Mr Sargent said his intention then was to ensure gardai were aware he had received this representation from the victim of an alleged assault and that the preparation of the case would benefit from witnesses not then interviewed.

He said what he had done had not been a criminal offence, but could be deemed "to be not lawful".

The Garda Commissioner had requested an urgent report into allegations Mr Sargent wrote to gardaí in an effort to prevent one of his constituents being prosecuted for criminal offences.

Mr Sargent, a minister in the Department of Agriculture, told RTE on Tuesday that the constituent needed a helping hand but that he was not trying to interfere with the judicial process.

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