Garda conviction would force ‘rethink’ on drunks

A SENIOR counsel representing a garda on trial for allegedly assaulting a man who resisted arrest has said if her client is convicted, the gardaí will “have to rethink how they deal with drunk, aggressive people” from now on.

Iseult O’Malley SC, representing Sgt Martha McEnery, who is one of four gardaí on trial for alleged offences arising out of an assault in Waterford last year, said in her closing speech that if a man gets drunk and urinates in a doorway, he will be apprehended by the gardaí.

“If he is aggressive and curses at gardaí and won’t give his name, he’ll be arrested. If he resists arrest, he will be handcuffed. That is the law. Force is going to be used in those circumstances.”

Sgt McEnery, Sgt Alan Kissane and Gda Daniel Hickey all deny assaulting Anthony Holness, aged 38, causing him harm, while Gda John Burke denies acting with intent to impede the apprehension or prosecution of another and in a manner tending and intended to pervert the course of justice. This was allegedly done by diverting a CCTV camera away from the alleged assault for a number of seconds on two occasions..

The offences are alleged to have happened at New Street, Waterford, at about 3am on January 29 of last year.

Closing speeches in the trial at Waterford Circuit Court — which is taking place on foot of a Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission investigation — concluded yesterday.

Mary-Rose Gearty SC, for Kissane, said that there was no suggestion — even from the injured party — that her client had struck or kicked anyone. From the CCTV footage, which has already been viewed by the jury, she said, “you can see that much of the punching has been done before Alan Kissane even arrives”.

In her submission for McEnery, Ms O’Malley said that her client was trying to get handcuffs on Anthony Holness when he resisted arrest.

“If you convict Martha McEnery of assault for this, the gardaí are going to have to rethink how they deal with drunk, aggressive people from now on.”

For Burke, Elaine Morgan BL said that the CCTV camera did move, but was “retrained and redirected” back to the scene, twice. “Why, if this was a cover-up, was this done?” she asked.

The footage showed Anthony Holness receiving nine punches to the head, as well as two or three kicks — at least one of which was to the head. He was stepped on, and then punched again as he was brought to a patrol van.

She said that, without the footage captured by Burke, there could have been no prosecution of Kissane and McEnery, while the prosecution of Hickey would have been “more difficult”.

Judge Leonie Reynolds began her charge to the jury at Waterford Circuit Court yesterday afternoon and is expected to conclude today when the jury will retire to consider their verdicts on the four accused.

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