Mistaken identity in Garda vetting disclosure may force Trinity student to defer studies

Student unable to complete work placement due to conviction included on disclosure

A Trinity student may be forced to defer her studies for a year following the inclusion of a criminal conviction against her on a disclosure from the Garda National Vetting Bureau, which the student says was committed by a different woman of the same name.

Kathleen Joyce, a Junior Sophister Social Studies student, has been unable to complete mandatory work placements due to the crime’s inclusion on the Garda vetting disclosure, which says she was convicted of theft and issued with an 18-week custodial sentence in a Welsh court in 2017.

In judicial review proceedings against the Garda Commissioner and the Vetting Bureau, Joyce’s counsel told the court that a picture attached to a record of the conviction showed that Joyce and the person convicted of the crime in Wales were two different people. He noted that no progress had been made on the issue by the Bureau since last April.

Joyce’s counsel outlined that College had granted Joyce an exemption from placement last year until the issue was resolved, on the understanding it would be rectified before the next round of work placement.

However, her counsel said that College informed Joyce this year that she will not be able to progress further without completing a work placement. If the issue is not resolved ahead of the next mandatory work placement, which is set to take place this month, College has advised Joyce that she must defer the year.

Trinity’s Social Studies course includes a total of 220 days of work placements in social services agencies spread across all four years of study, accounting for 30% of students’ course time.

Joyce previously received convictions between 2006 and 2014 for offences including assault, the handling of stolen goods, and intoxication in a public place, while under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Joyce outlined the previous convictions on the vetting disclosure form which she submitted in September 2017. The court heard that she has become drug and alcohol-free through counselling over the last five years.

The case was heard in High Court today by Justice Seamus Noonan, who granted permission to bring the action. The matter will be heard by the court again later this month.

Lauren Boland

Lauren Boland was the Editor of the 67th volume of Trinity News. She is an English Literature and Sociology graduate and previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.