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Members of the Garda Public Order Unit, not involved in the case, engage with protesters on the day of the Pegida march. Sam Boal/

Garda appears in court accused of assaulting RTÉ cameraman during Pegida protest

The district court has heard the man had attended hospital and suffered bruising to his groin.

A GARDA HAS appeared in court accused of assaulting an RTE cameraman who was filming a violent protest in Dublin.

Garda Sean Lucey, based at Crumlin station in Dublin is alleged to have assaulted cameraman Colm Hand causing him harm at the junction of O’Connell Street and Cathedral Street on 6 February last year. He is also accused of damaging Hand’s camera.

The incident allegedly occurred when gardaí baton-charged protesters who turned up in response to the launch of an Irish branch of far-right European anti-Islamic group Pegida.

A complaint was made through his employer to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) which had successfully applied to Dublin District Court to issue summons against Lucey on charges of assault and criminal damage.

The District Court has heard Hand attended hospital and suffered bruising to his groin.

The summons was served earlier this month and Lucey appeared before Judge Michael Walsh at Dublin District Court today. Dressed in a black suit, white shirt and green tie, he stood up when the case was called but did not address the court.

State solicitor Michael Durkan told the court that the Director of Public Prosecutions has directed, “summary disposal on a guilty plea only”. This means the case will remain in the district court if he pleads guilty otherwise he will face trial before a judge and jury in the Circuit Court which has tougher sentencing powers.

Defence solicitor Liz Hughes said this was the first date her client was before the court and she requested an order for disclosure of prosecution evidence including CCTV footage.

Judge Walsh directed that a summary of evidence including statements and the CCTV evidence would have to be handed over to the defence by 1 September. He ordered the accused to appear again on 26 September next when the case will be listed for mention. He has not yet indicated how he will plead.

The complainant Hand was also present for the hearing today but has not yet been called to give evidence.

When an application was made to have the summons issued earlier this month, the court had heard that violence broke out during a march by Pegida, which stands for Patriotic Europeans Against The Islamisisation of the West.

Clashes broke out when small groups of Pegida supporters were heading towards the GPO from surrounding streets. About 1,000 people turned out for a counter-demonstration protesting against the launch of the anti-Islam group in Ireland.