Two gardaí, a father and son, have denied they assaulted some protesters during a protest against the Shell Corrib gas refinery in Co Mayo.
Garda Marvin Lee said he was pulled into a “frenzied” crowd, was hit by some and had not struck local farmer Patrick Coyle during the protest on January 19, 2007.
Garda Peter Lee, father of Marvin, rejected claims he struck Mr Coyle with his fist in the back of the head, knocking him to the ground, and punched two brothers, local fishermen, Patrick and Martin O’Donnell, in the face. He denied acting “wild” and denied another protester told him to “calm down”.
He said he was “distraught” a Garda video of the protest had stopped recording for eight minutes when the alleged incident was happening and did not know how or why the recording stopped and later resumed.
He said it was “outrageous” allegations were made against him and his son, that what he saw was very dangerous and he was concerned for his son’s life. He denied he “invented” a tale of an attempt on his son’s life to disguise Garda “indiscipline”.
Both gardai were giving evidence in civil actions by Patrick and Martin O’Donnell, with addresses at Porturlin, Shore, Ballina, and Patrick Coyle, of Barnatra, Ballina, against the Garda Commissioner and State over alleged assaults by gardai during the protest.
The jury heard Garda Marvin Lee, now stationed in Galway, and Garda Peter Lee, stationed in Oughterard, were on temporary transfer to Belmullet in January 2007 for the protests.
Asked about Patrick Coyle’s evidence he had been struck by Garda number RG144, Garda Lee’s then number, Garda Lee said he had not struck Mr Coyle and did not see his father or any Garda strike any protester.
The case continues today.
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