Monday 5 December 2016

Ex-garda awarded €250,000 for vicious choke attack in pub

Saurya Cherfi

Published 02/12/2016 | 02:30

Former garda Gerard Walsh. Photo: Collins Courts
Former garda Gerard Walsh. Photo: Collins Courts

A former garda who suffered a "vicious" assault by a martial arts champion while working has settled a compensation claim for €250,000.

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Gerard Walsh (56) was forced to retire on medical grounds after he was attacked in an incident in a pub in June 1992.

The High Court heard the Minister for Finance had agreed to pay €250,000 compensation to Mr Walsh, who thought he would die in the assault.

Mr Walsh told the court that in June 1992 he was stationed in Tramore, Co Waterford. He and colleagues had been clearing a pub in Portlaw when he suddenly received a blow from behind to his right temple.

Mr Walsh told his barrister, Bruce Antoniotti SC, that the assailant, who the court heard was a martial arts champion, hit and kicked him repeatedly.

Mr Antoniotti said that after Mr Walsh had fallen, his assailant grabbed him from behind and tried to choke him by putting his thigh and lower leg around his neck. Mr Walsh told Mr Justice Bernard Barton that he had been choking and was fearful for his life. He suffered bruising on his face, a swollen knee and soft tissue injuries to his body.

He suffered a tear to the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee for which he had later needed surgery.

Mr Walsh said he had lost his confidence following the assault and had later developed psoriatic arthritis, a form of arthritis that affects the skin and the joints. He later developed depression symptoms and had been unable to return to full garda duties.

Infirmity

Mr Walsh, who now lives in Rathcormac, Co Cork, was informed in 2001 he was being retired on medical grounds, because of "infirmity of his mind and body". He sued the minister for compensation for his injuries and for loss of earnings and pension.

Michael J Durack SC, for the minister, had argued that Mr Walsh's arthritis condition was not linked to the assault.

Following an adjournment, Judge Barton approved an agreed settlement and ordered €250,000 compensation be paid to Mr Walsh, along with legal costs.

Irish Independent

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