€280,000 for garda blinded when hit by getaway car
A garda and former Kilkenny hurler, who lost partial vision after he was run down by a getaway car in a robbery, has been awarded almost €280,000 in damages in the High Court.
Garda Owen Behan (38), who is based at Abbeyleix Garda Station, Co Laois, told the court that in June 2007 he had been manning a checkpoint outside the Glanbia plant at Ballyragget, Co Kilkenny, when the incident occurred.
Garda Behan told his counsel, John Peart SC, he was standing on the road when one car failed to stop and drove at him, knocking him into the air. He landed back onto the getaway car, hitting his head on the windscreen. He suffered a deep laceration around his right eye and needed more than 30 stitches. X-rays later revealed a fracture under his eye socket. He lost peripheral vision in his right eye and suffered ongoing numbness over his eye area. He is no longer able to drive at night and has to wear sunglasses in daylight.
The court heard that Garda Behan, who suffered permanent nerve damage in his eye, has been refused entry to nightclubs because the laceration had left a scar of more than four inches.
Mr Peart said that before the incident, his client was a senior Kilkenny hurler and had won medals in national and Leinster league finals. Following his injuries, Garda Behan had been unable to play any sport.
Awarding Garda Behan €279,000 in damages, Mr Justice Bernard Barton said he had been a distinguished hurler whose professional and sporting career, as well as his social life, had been seriously affected by the assault.