Guilty verdicts were returned last night at Waterford Circuit Court in relation to Garda Daniel Hickey, who was accused of assaulting Anthony Holness, causing him harm, at New Street, Waterford, on January 29 of last year.
Garda John Burke was found guilty of acting in a manner tending and intended to pervert the course of justice; and to acting with intent to impede the apprehension or prosecution of another.
Their colleague Sergeant Alan Kissane was found not guilty of a charge of assault causing harm, while no verdict has yet been reached in relation to Sergeant Martha McEnery, who is also charged with assault causing harm. The jury will resume their deliberations in her case on Monday morning.
All four gardaí — based at Waterford Garda Station in Ballybricken — had denied the charges against them. The case took place following an investigation by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) and part of the evidence was CCTV footage recorded from the scene of the assault. The jury viewed the footage six times.
The guilty verdicts were the first secured by the GSOC, following a jury trial, since it came into being.
There was no comment last night from the GSOC, whose officers were present throughout the trial, pending the verdict regarding Sergeant McEnery.
Garda Hickey and Garda Burke have been remanded on continuing bail, pending sentencing, which will take place in November. They have been ordered to surrender their passports and sign on weekly at a Garda station.
Following a four-week trial, the jury returned verdicts in relation to Daniel Hickey, Alan Kissane and John Burke just after 7.40pm last night after just over an hour of deliberation.
The incidents at the centre of the trial occurred at about 3am on the morning of January 29, 2010, when Anthony Holness was on his way home from a night out.
He started urinating on the side of the street but was seen by Garda Hickey — on patrol with a probationary garda at the time — who stopped to speak to him.
When Garda Hickey decided to arrest Mr Holness, the latter resisted and was then pepper-sprayed, grabbed in a headlock by Garda Hickey, bundled to the ground and punched several times in the back of the head, the prosecution said.
Following a call for assistance, Sergeants McEnery and Kissane arrived on the scene and Alan Kissane was alleged to have stood on Mr Holness’s hand and on the back of his neck and head, while Martha McEnery was alleged to have repeatedly struck him on the head with a closed fist.
Garda Burke was operating the city’s CCTV system at Waterford Garda Station and was accused of directing a camera, focused on the scene, away from the incident for a number of seconds, twice.
Sentencing in the case was adjourned last night until November 7 and Judge Reynolds ordered the preparation of a victim impact report in relation to Anthony Holness.