Ex-gardaí jailed over assault on man who resisted arrest

TWO former gardaí have been jailed over an assault in which a man was subjected to what a judge called “sheer ferocity” after resisting arrest when caught urinating on the street.

Judge Leonie Reynolds said the reaction of gardaí when trying to arrest Anthony Holness on New Street in Waterford on January 28, 2010, was “wholly unjustifiable and disproportionate”, while a garda who diverted a CCTV camera from the assault committed a “catastrophic error”.

At Waterford Circuit Court yesterday she gave Daniel Hickey, aged 29, a three-year prison sentence — with the last 18 months suspended — for assaulting Mr Holness, causing him harm. She sentenced John Burke, aged 39, who was operating the CCTV in Waterford Garda Station, to two years in jail, suspending the second half, for acting in a manner intended and tending to pervert the course of justice.

Both Burke and Hickey have since left the force.

Sergeant Martha McEnery, aged 42, was given a four-month prison sentence, suspended for a year, for assault.

The three were out on bail since being convicted in July and August at Waterford Circuit Court.

The court heard that on January 28, 2010, Hickey got Mr Holness in a headlock, pulled him to the ground and punched him after he resisted arrest.

McEnery slapped Mr Holness a number of times. She was found not guilty of assault causing harm, but guilty of assault.

The Garda Siochána Ombudsman Commission, which undertook the probe against the gardaí, said the decision “sends a message to everybody concerned that the courts and juries are not minded to tolerate misbehaviour of a criminal nature on the part of gardaí”.

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