A garda who was kicked and punched in the head while attempting to arrest a known drug user was yesterday awarded almost €156,000 compensation.
Mr Justice Bernard Barton said during a Garda Compensation hearing in the High Court that Garda Louise Lordan, aged 41, was still suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and would need to be treated for continuing dental repairs.
In a reserved judgment, he told barrister Aidan Walsh that the court accepted Gda Lordan, of Kilmore, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, remained vulnerable and still suffered from depression.
Judge Barton had heard that in November 2007, Gda Lordan, a member of the Traffic Corps unit in Cahir, Co Tipperary, had been patrolling in a car with colleague and driver Mark Darmody, when they recognised the drug addict while driving close to them.
They followed the man with sirens and lights but he sped up, turning sharply on junctions and causing cars to “swirl”. The man’s vehicle collided with other cars during his attempt to escape.
Gda Lordan said that the drug addict’s car collided with a concrete barrier and one of the front wheels blew out, but the man continued driving, with sparks flying from the rim.
The court heard that, as the man eventually slowed down, a woman jumped out of his front passenger seat. Gda Lordan gave chase and apprehended the woman, who had been very intoxicated and high on drugs. She became abusive and hit Gda Lordan on the left hand side of her face with a large heavy handbag. The woman had spat on her when she had tried to arrest her.
Gda Lordan said that, as she walked towards her colleague, who was attempting to arrest the drug addict, the man punched her several times in the face. He also threatened to shoot both her and Gda Darmody.
Gda Lordan was taken to South Tipperary General Hospital with bruising on her back, shoulder, and neck. Her face was very swollen and she had three broken teeth.
Judge Barton was told she had suffered from depression and PTSD and had been prescribed anti-depressants. She still occasionally experienced sleep disturbance, flashbacks and nightmares.
Gda Lordan said her personality had changed since the incident and she now lacked confidence. She is now working as a court presenter and is afraid to work outdoors again, she said.
Judge Barton awarded her €155,873 — €14,873 for fees and expenses, €6,500 for future dental work, €85,000 for past pain and suffering and €50,000 for future pain.
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