Garda denies using ‘unnecessary force’

ONE of the gardaí on trial for allegedly assaulting a man on the street in Waterford took to the witness box yesterday to deny he used “unnecessary force” when restraining the alleged victim.

Sergeant Alan Kissane is one of three Waterford city-based gardaí, along with Sergeant Martha McEnery and Garda Daniel Hickey, who all deny assaulting Anthony Holness, 38, causing him harm.

Their colleague, Garda John Burke, denies acting with intent to impede the apprehension or prosecution of another and acting in a manner tending and intended to pervert the course of justice.

The alleged offences happened at New Street in the city on January 29, 2010, after Mr Holness was seen urinating on the street following a night out.

Sgt Kissane told Waterford Circuit Court yesterday he got two radio calls to go to the assistance of Gda Hickey, who was trying to arrest Mr Holness at about 3am.

On arrival, he saw Gda Hickey restraining Mr Holness on the ground.

He thought Mr Holness was trying to lever himself up, so he placed his right foot on his wrist to allow him to be handcuffed and prevent him getting up.

After Mr Holness was handcuffed, Sgt Kissane thought he saw him moving towards him, so he again used his foot.

“I placed it across the back of his neck and the lower part of his head to confine and constrain and control Anthony Holness,” he said.

Asked if he assaulted him or used “unnecessary force,” Sgt Kissane replied: “No, I did not,” to both.

While cross-examining Sgt Kissane, Michael Delaney SC, prosecuting, put it to him that CCTV footage viewed by the jury showed “blows being struck”, after Gda Hickey got Mr Holness “in a headlock”.

The witness replied that he didn’t see it because he was just getting out of his Garda van.

“We see three of those blows and then the camera turns away,” Mr Delaney said.

“From the footage, yes,” Sgt Kissane said.

He saw Sgt McEnery “clip the back of Anthony Holness’s head a number of times”.

Mr Delaney put it to him that this happened “six times in total” and that if he saw one, he must have seen at least five.

“I wouldn’t agree with that,” Sgt Kissane replied.

The other three accused gardaí opted against going into evidence.

Gda Burke was operating the CCTV controls in the Garda station at the time and is alleged to have turned a CCTV camera away from the scene for a number of seconds.

The trial continues.

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