A civil servant in the Department of Justice has told a judge that gardaí who broke into his Dublin flat five years ago searched his belongings and said to 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.
Mr Forbes, of Flat 1, No 10 Bessborough Parade, Rathmines, Dublin, said he was pushed against a wardrobe and when he tried to phone a Garda station, his mobile was grabbed from him and thrown 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.
Mr Forbes told his counsel, John Ferry, two gardaí who entered his room wore uniform but refused to give their names or numbers.
Mr Ferry told the court in opening a claim by Mr 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 it was two-and-a-half years after the November 2011 garda entry that Mr Forbes had been supplied with a warrant. He had referred the matter to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission.
Counsel Peter Leonard told the court a full defence and denial of Mr Forbes’s allegations had been entered in the claim against the Garda commissioner and justice minister.
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’s apartment through the window, told the court w
hen there was no answer to the front door he noticed a window slightly ajar and had opened it to gain entry.
He said when he met Mr Forbes, he had pointed to the garda flash across his chest.
Mr Forbes had remained passive, calm, and indifferent, according to Det Garda Lawless, and had said “that’s fine” to him and gestured towards his apartment door.
He said he thanked Mr Forbes and let his colleagues in to conduct a search for “a female target” who had been arrested in the upstairs flat.
Judgment was reserved.
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