Garda says colleague warned her over incident

A GARDA has said a colleague accused of assaulting a man after forcing entry to his flat told her not to say anything if asked about the alleged incident.

Garda Caroline Breslin, a student garda at the time, said she was in a patrol car with Garda Alan Conlon a few days after the alleged assault when he told her not to say anything if asked about the incident if anyone asked her about it.

Gardaí Conlon, Eoin Murtagh, Claire Delaney and Sean O’Leary have pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to forcing entry at a Basin St Upper flat, entering as a trespasser and assaulting Owen Gaffney, 21, causing him harm on February 17, 2008.

Gda Breslin told Patrick McGrath BL, prosecuting, that she had waited outside the flat with another garda but could hear a woman screaming from inside.

Murtagh, Conlon and Delaney have also pleaded not guilty to the false imprisonment of Fidelma Gaffney, Mr Gaffney’s mother, on the same occasion.

Gda Breslin told Mr McGrath she had been in a patrol car driven by Conlon on February 17, 2008, when he said something about a man who had threatened to bite his nose off.

She said Conlon mentioned that Murtagh had received scrapes on his face from another incident with this same person.

Gda Breslin said Conlon had been on the car radio to meet up with the Kilmainham patrol vehicle occupied by the other three accused.

Gda Breslin said she recalled Conlon getting out of their car to speak with the Kilmainham car occupants before these two vehicles and another patrol car drove to the Basin St flats.

She said someone knocked at a door, once everyone had climbed a number of stairs, and that a woman answered.

She said the other gardaí, bar herself and a male garda, went upstairs into the flat and the woman followed.

She said she heard screaming from presumably the same woman, who sounded hysterical.

She told Mr McGrath that she and the other garda waiting outside decided to go back to the patrol cars when they noticed a number of children threatening to damage the cars.

She said all other gardaí returned downstairs a few minutes later and they all left the area, but she saw O’Leary, Delaney and Murtagh at Kevin Street Garda station later that day.

Gda Breslin accepted that, in her original statement to the Garda Ombudsman Commission, she had said she had been distracted by “children and youths” while outside the flat.

She agreed these could have been youths playing football on a nearby pitch.

She agreed that she had not seen anything from her position with the other male garda outside the door.

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