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'Unconditional apology' from State after gardaí repeatedly call to family's home

The High Court was told that the family were harassed by gardaí calling and asking about a person who didn’t live there.

Image: PA WIRE

THE STATE HAS apologised to a family who claimed they were harassed and intimidated by gardaí who called to their home on several occasions asking about a person who didn’t live there.

The apology was made before the High Court to members of the Topolnicki family who reside at Ashmount, Clonsilla in Dublin 15.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan heard that the State was offering an unconditional apology to the family, and it was accepted that the gardaí had made a mistake by calling to the wrong address.

The family launched High Court proceedings after members of the gardaí called to their home on eight different occasions over the last three years.

The family sought various reliefs including orders restraining the gardaí from entering or attending at their home.

The also sought an order restraining the gardaí from watching, besetting, harassing or intimidating any member of the Topolnicki family including brothers Marek and Patryk Topolnicki and their wives Malgorzata and Kinga.

Court action 

The family, represented by Pat O’Connell SC and Breffni Gordan BL had sued the Garda Commissioner, the Minister for Justice, Ireland and the Attorney General.

The family claimed the gardaí first called to the house sometime in 2014 and said they were looking for a person who may have previously resided at the premises, and were told that person did not live there.

On another occasion in March 2016 up to 12 gardaí arrived at the house. Marek Topolnicki said that when he opened to door he was pushed inside and that six to eight gardaí forcibly entered their home and roamed around the house.

The court heard that this upset and traumatised the family, who said they were given no information by the gardaí. They said the atmosphere in the house was dreadful.

He said they did not have a warrant and before leaving the house a member of the Garda party gave him a document to sign which Mr Topolnicki was told was a confirmation that no damage had occurred during the search.

Following that incident the family said their home was watched by the gardaí, who also called to their door on a number of other occasions.

On another occasion the family claimed the gardaí called to their home at 2am one night and remained outside their home for a period with the lights of their vehicle on and the engine running.

The family said they were law abiding citizens and had no criminal convictions, did not associate with criminals and had never been involved with the police in any jurisdiction.

The family, originally from Krakow in Poland, have been living and working in Ireland for several years. They had previously secured an undertaking from the gardaí that they would not enter or intrude or attend at the family’s home unless under the authority of a valid warrant.

When the matter returned before the High Court Mr Justice Gilligan was told by Mr O’Connell that the injunction action had been settled and could be struck out. The family were also to get their legal costs.

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Aodhan O Faolain

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