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Dublin: 7 °C Monday 18 November, 2019
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Civil servant takes case against gardaí who broke into his flat while he slept

Gerard Forbes was awoken by a Garda holding his window open at 7.30am.

garda Source: Rollingnews.ie

A CIVIL SERVANT at the Department of Justice has told a judge that gardaí who broke into his Dublin flat five years ago then searched his belongings and told him: “We are searching for bombs, bullets and guns.”

Gerard Forbes told the Circuit Civil Court he was woken at 7.30am in the darkness of his studio apartment by raised voices and torchlight shining in his face from the window that two gardaí had used to gain entry.

Forbes, of Bessborough Parade, Rathmines, Dublin 6, said he had been pushed against a wardrobe and when he tried to phone his local garda station his mobile was grabbed from him and thrown across the room against the wall.

“I was then pushed into a chair and told to stay there as a Garda opened the door of my flat and went to the front door of the house to let in other gardaí,” he told Judge Francis Comerford.

Forbes told his barrister John Ferry that two gardaí who entered his room wore uniform but refused to give him their names or numbers.

Ferry, who appeared with Frank Ward solicitors, told the court in opening a claim by Forbes for damages for negligence, breach of rights, trespass and assault and false imprisonment, that the gardaí had not shown any search warrant.

He said that Forbes was not supplied with a warrant for the search for two-and-a-half years after the November 2011 Garda entry. He had referred the matter to the Garda Ombudsman Commission (GSOC).

“Invited”

Barrister Peter Leonard told the court a full defence and denial of Forbes’ allegations had been entered in the claim against the Garda Commissioner and Minister for Justice.

He said garda evidence would be that Forbes “invited” one garda into his apartment after he had appeared at the window and that the garda had thanked him for his co-operation as he let his colleagues in to search another flat.

Detective Garda Kevin Lawless, who entered Forbes’ apartment through the window, told the court he was part of a group of plainclothes gardaí who had sought entry to the Rathmines house on foot of a search warrant.

When there was no answer to the front door he noticed a window slightly ajar and had opened it to gain entry. He was standing on the window ledge holding the frame up with one hand and carrying a torch in the other and had been unable to reach his garda identification card when asked for it.

He had said: “Hello. Gardaí,” and when there was no answer he had pulled back the window blind and had shone a torch into the room. He said when he met Forbes he had pointed to the garda flash across his chest.

Forbes had remained passive, calm and indifferent and had said “that’s fine” to him and gestured towards the door of his apartment. He said he had moved through the room to open the front door of the house to let his colleagues in to conduct a search of an upstairs flat.

Garda Lawless said he had not asked Forbes to let him out into the hallway in case he would be compromised and considered a “rat” with a possibility of facing repercussions afterwards.

He had thanked Forbes and had let his colleagues in to conduct a search for “a female target” who had been arrested in the upstairs flat.

Judge Comerford reserved judgment.

Comments are closed on this article as the judge’s decision is pending

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Ray Managh

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