Garda cleared of assaulting bouncers in nightclub
Published 01/07/2011 | 05:00
A GARDA walked free from court yesterday after a judge ruled there was insufficient evidence to convict him of assaulting two nightclub bouncers.
Garda Stephen Moore (32), from Clontarf, Dublin, who is stationed at Pearse Street garda station, had been prosecuted by the DPP following an investigation into the matter by the Garda Ombudsman.
During a two-day hearing at a special sitting of Galway District Court, Gda Moore denied assaulting bouncer Andrea Flood at Karma nightclub, Ball Alley Lane, Galway, on December 5, 2009. He also denied assaulting her colleague, Aidan Shortall, and breaching the peace on the same occasion.
Dismissing the charges, Judge Mary Fahy said the evidence adduced during the two-day hearing was very confusing and that the State had not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Judge Fahy had refused an application made by defence solicitor Thomas Murphy on Wednesday -- when the prosecution case closed -- to have the case dismissed, stating at the time that she felt the accused did have a case to answer.
Summing up yesterday, however, Judge Fahy said: "I have listened to all of the evidence of the witnesses and it's confusing.
"I have a doubt. Serious complaints of assault were made (by the bouncers) and then withdrawn. There is nothing of evidential value in the CCTV footage shown. The State has not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt and I'm dismissing all of the charges."
The court heard that a group of up to 15 gardai from Dublin arrived in Galway for a Christmas party and were given free admission to the club.
Bouncers said Gda Moore was warned on three occasions to stop lifting people up in the air on the dancefloor, before he was frog-marched off the floor by bouncers Aidan Shortall and Damien O'Boyle.
It was alleged he broke free from Mr Shortall and punched him in the face. It was also alleged he struck Ms Flood twice on the mouth. Gda Moore denied he had assaulted anyone. He said the bouncers had assaulted him instead and he had suffered extreme pain while being held in a tight arm-lock.
Four of Gda Moore's colleagues who had been with him that night gave evidence supporting his version of events.