21/09/2023 0 Comments
Injuries caused by Members of An Garda Siochana
The plaintiff in this case sued the Gardai for injuries he suffered from being allegedly assaulted by Gardai.
The plaintiff was walking home from a pub in the company of his son and nephew when he encountered the Gardai. He claimed that he was arrested and assaulted by a garda who, it was claimed, used unreasonable force, falsely imprisoned him, and acted in a very aggressive manner towards him.
It was claimed that pepper stray was used directly into his face from close range. He also claimed that he was roughly handled, struck on the back of the head, and kneed in the back while being brought to the Garda station.
Subsequently, the plaintiff was acquitted in court of committing any offence under the Public Order Act. It was also stated that the plaintiff had never been in trouble with the law before this incident or since.
The injuries inflicted on the plaintiff affected his relationship with his family and left him unable to deal with his late wife’s battle with cancer.
It was submitted in defense of the Gardai Siochana that the plaintiff and two others in his company had been observed by gardai, piggybacking in the middle of the street, and causing a hazard to traffic. It was also claimed by the defense that the plaintiff acted aggressively towards the gardai and was only pepper sprayed after another person assaulted a garda and matters got out of hand.
In regard to the public order incident, it was submitted by the defense that their members action was reasonable and appropriate.
It was also claimed by the defense that the plaintiff had said that he had consumed five or six pints of beer that night.
The plaintiff rejected all the allegations made by the gardai and stated that he had only been in the pub a relatively short time and drank one pint of beer shandy.
On the conclusion of the evidence, a jury retired to consider their verdict. On return they found in favour of the plaintiff finding that the Gardai had used excessive and unreasonable force in dealing with the situation. The jury awarded €505,000 in damages.
Sheehan v An Gardai Siochana High Court (Owens J) 10 May 2023.