Patrick Fuohy, aged 62, of Ballydaw, Castlelyons, Co Cork, pleaded not guilty to a charge of assault causing harm to Detective Garda Denis Ryan at Fermoy Mart in Corrin on March 21, 2013.
Det Garda Ryan testified that Fuohy had a one-man protest at Fermoy Mart and gardaí were called by mart management who claimed the entrance to the facility was being blocked by a truck.
Fuohy left the mart after speaking to gardaí only to return a short time later with his lorry.
He blocked the entrance to the mart and, when Detective Ryan and Garda Clare Quirke approached him, moved the vehicle.
The detective said the vehicle jerked forward and struck him causing him to stumble backwards.
Fuohy had locked the doors of the truck and Detective Ryan used his ‘Asp’ extending baton to smash the driver’s window. However, when the detective put his hand through the broken window to remove the keys from the lorry’s ignition, he claimed the defendant repeatedly struck him on the left hand with a stabbing motion. He feared for his life.
“I was pulling and dragging asking him to stop and release my hand. Mr Fuohy was in a blind rage, he was stabbing my hand with a metal pointed object,” Det Garda Ryan said.
Defence counsel Tom Creed SC said Fuohy would say he was “in fear of his life . . . and acting purely in self-defence.”
Mr Creed said the farmer was shocked when the garda smashed the side window of his lorry’s cab and was only trying to protect himself from the baton.
Detective Ryan denied this: “I never struck Mr Fuohy. I never laid a finger on him. I certainly did not ‘lose the rag’. My reason for striking the windscreen was to take the keys from the lorry to stop anyone from being hurt and to take Mr Fuohy into custody.”
The detective said he considered Fuohy’s actions with the lorry to be dangerous.
Garda Quirke said she saw Detective Ryan being struck by the lorry and then repeatedly hit by Fuohy when he attempted to remove the keys from the ignition.
She said she ran to the cab when the detective started shouting for help.
Garda Quirke said Fuohy leaned back in the cab and started kicking out, forcing the officers back.
He was eventually pepper-sprayed and taken into custody when Garda reinforcements arrived.
The trial before Judge Donagh McDonagh and a jury of 11 men and one woman continues today.