Evidence of gardaí challenged at trial

A Garda helicopter flew to the scene of an attempted house raid in Cork that was intercepted by armed officers, while a heat-seeking device in the helicopter picked up a man trying to conceal himself in undergrowth.

Evidence of gardaí challenged at trial

Video evidence from the helicopter was shown to the judge and jury yesterday of events that occurred around the home of businessman Pat Glavin at Rougrane, Glanmire, Co Cork, on August 11 last year. Gardaí had been tipped off of a planned robbery and up to 30 officers, including armed members of the Regional Support Unit, were present to intervene. The Glavin family was not present.

Niall Fitzpatrick, aged 46, of Corrin Close, the Glen, Cork, denies charges of possession of a 12-gauge, pump-action shotgun and ammunition, and attempted aggravated burglary, at the home of Mr Glavin on August 11, 2013.

Brendan Nix, defending, said Mr Fitzpatrick was nowhere near this premises.

Mr Nix also challenged the evidence of members of the Regional Support Unit and questioned them about one of the men who was found lying in the field being kicked on the ground.

Garda Martin O’Sullivan testified he saw Mr Fitzpatrick outside the house that night before he and the two others jumped a wall and ran across fields. One of the men was arrested shortly after going over the wall and a second man was arrested as he lay hiding in a field.

Video taken from the garda helicopter showed two gardaí approaching, one stumbling, and the other kicking the man on the ground twice.

Garda O’Sullivan confirmed yesterday that he kicked the man on the ground and he explained: “This was an intelligence-led operation where firearms were believed to be and I had already seen one firearm (a shotgun allegedly carried by Fitzpatrick).

“(The man on the ground) failed to comply with directions I gave him (to show his hands and crawl forward). I had my Sig Sauer out. I moved forward. I kicked him at least once if not twice. He suffered no injuries and he did not make any complaint either.”

Garda O’Sullivan said he kicked him in the abdomen. Mr Nix said repeatedly that Garda O’Sullivan kicked the man in the head.

Mr Nix suggested the Taser device with which the guard was also armed could have simply frozen the suspect momentarily. “What is the point of giving you a Taser if you go around kicking people in the head?”

Garda O’Sullivan replied: “A suspect had been seen earlier with a firearm. They had opportunities to give themselves up. He (the man on the ground) hid himself and failed to give himself up. I shouted loudly to show his hands. He refused to show his hands.”

While gardaí were questioned extensively about the arrest of the man in the field, there was no suggestion that this related in any way to the accused, but Mr Nix explained to the court that he was questioning the gardaí about the arrest of this other man in order to challenge their credibility.

The trial continues today.

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