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Man claims garda struck him with weapon while he was handcuffed

The gardaí involved say they had to use a baton on the man to defend themselves after he resisted arrest.

Image: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

A WESTMEATN MAN has told a jury at the High Court a garda struck him several times with “a weapon” while he was handcuffed and on the ground following his arrest.

Fergal O Rourke also claims that another garda struck him several times and grabbed him by the throat during the course of his arrest shortly before 9pm at Ballymore, Co Westmeath on 12 July 2009.

Arising out of the incident, O ‘Rourke aged 62 years from Mullaghcloe, Ballymore has brought an action seeking damages against the State, the Garda Commissioner for the assault and battery he claims he was subjected to.

O’Rourke, who accepted he had two drinks in a pub on the date in question, claims he required treatment in hospital following the incident due to the injuries he sustained, and has “a lame leg,” over what happened. The incident has also left him feeling nervous the court heard.

‘Self-defence’

The claims are denied. The defendants say O’Rourke was arrested after the jeep he was driving performed a u-turn at a garda checkpoint in Ballymore. He then went down a laneway, and left his vehicle before being apprehended by the gardaí, it is alleged.

They also say the gardaí had to use a baton to defend themselves after O’Rourke resisted arrest and kicked one of them.

In evidence O’Rourke told the court he never intended to kick the garda said as he was falling in the course of his arrest his leg “came up” and “accidentally struck,” the garda.

Members of the jury were shown several photographs of O’Rourke’s legs, feet and body which were taken by a professional photographer shortly after the incident.

O’Rourke told his counsel Richard Kean SC said that one of the gardaí knocked him to the ground which resulted in his (O’ Rourke’s) foot accidentally striking the other garda. O’Rourke said he was then kicked and punched.

He said he was placed in handcuffs. He said one of the gardaí struck him with some sort of “a weapon” in his body while he was handcuffed and on the ground. He said he was in pain.

The truth

He was then taken to Athlone garda station in a garda car. Following his release some hours later he then brought by the gardaí to the A&E hospital in Ballinasloe.

Under cross examination by David Sutton SC for the defendants O’Rourke said he had “no intention of hitting any garda” that night. He did accept that he had been trying to escape the gardaí when he was apprehended.

O’Rourke told the court he had come to court to tell the truth and reject claims the Gardai had used reasonable force on the night. He also denied counsel’s assertion that the truth of what had happened that evening had to be dragged out of him.

Under cross examination, he also accepted that arising out of the incident he pleaded guilty to an offence of refusing to give a give a sample following his arrest. It was further accepted he received a conviction for drink driving offence in 2002.

The case before a jury and Justice Colm MacEochaidh continues.

Read: Man to appear in court over armed robbery at post office>

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About the author:

Aodhan O Faolain

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