Court assault ‘left garda hospitalised’

A garda was hospitalised following an assault outside Cork District Court, when he was allegedly punched and head-butted by a man just released on bail on a charge of carrying a knife.

Court assault ‘left garda hospitalised’

They were the allegations made yesterday after Sergeant Liam Walsh arrested Peter Matthews, aged 23, of Apartment 2, 27 Leitrim St, Cork, and charged him with assault causing harm to Garda Conor Manton.

Mr Matthews said he received a few blows and defended himself.

“I received blows to my face,” he said. “I did not aggravate the situation.”

Frank Buttimer, defence solicitor, said there was no reason to refuse bail to Mr Matthews.

Inspector Ronan Kennelly applied to have the accused remanded in custody because of the seriousness of the alleged assault on an on-duty garda who sustained serious facial injuries, allegedly caused by a man who had just been granted bail on an older charge of possessing a knife.

Insp Kennelly submitted that it was in the public interest to remand the accused in custody.

Judge Olann Kelleher refused the bail application and remanded Matthews in custody until July 2.

Garda Shane Coakley testified he did not see the incident but spent a number of hours with Gda Manton as he was hospitalised after it.

Gda Coakley recounted his understanding of what occurred shortly before 4pm on Wednesday last on Anglesea St outside the courthouse.

“Garda Manton stopped two gentlemen,” said Gda Coakley. “One was Mr Matthews and [Gda Manton] formed the opinion they should be searched. Mr Matthews had nothing on him. When he was searching the second man he found certain products.

“The ex of Mr Matthews arrived on the scene and she was not too impressed and reacted to what she had seen. As Garda Manton described it, Mr Matthews kicked off. He went to arrest Mr Matthews and used his radio to call for assistance.

“Mr Matthews allegedly began to punch Garda Manton into the nose at least three times. Garda Manton can only remember being punched three times and head-butted twice, minimum. Garda Manton’s radio went flying [before he could complete the call for back-up].

“Detective Sergeant Clodagh O’Sullivan was passing by, by pure luck. She was able to grab the radio and call for assistance and the armed support unit arrived. When I arrived on the scene, there was a considerable amount of blood and Mr Matthews was arrested by Garda Keith Mills.

“Garda Manton was quite shook. He had a broken nose and quite considerable swelling.”

Mr Buttimer said the defendant was taking issue with a description of how Mr Matthews sustained his own visible cut above his nose. The prosecution evidence was it occurred when he struck the ground on being arrested.

In relation to both Garda Manton and Mr Matthews being injured, Mr Buttimer said: “It was a nil-all draw.”

Judge Olann Kelleher said that description was not appropriate.

Mr Matthews testified in his bail application: “I don’t think I am guilty of assault when I received a number of blows to my face. I did not start this.

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