Garda guilty of arrest assault in historic verdict
Published 06/08/2011 | 05:00
A GARDA was last night found guilty of assaulting a man who resisted arrest.
Another officer was found guilty of intending to pervert the course of justice by diverting a CCTV camera while the assault was taking place.
Garda Daniel Hickey was found guilty of assaulting Anthony Holness, causing him harm, at New Street in Waterford on January 29 of last year.
Garda John Burke was found guilty of acting in a manner tending and intended to pervert the course of justice, and to acting with intent to impede the apprehension or prosecution of another.
Sergeant Alan Kissane was found not guilty of a charge of assault causing harm. No verdict has yet been reached in relation to Sergeant Martha McEnery who is also charged with assault causing harm.
The jury at Waterford Circuit Court will resume their deliberations in her case on Monday morning.
All four gardai -- based at Waterford garda station -- had denied the charges.
The case took place following an investigation by the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) and part of the evidence was CCTV footage recorded from the scene of the assault. The guilty verdicts were the first secured by the GSOC, following a jury trial, since it came into being.
There was no comment last night from the GSOC, whose representatives were present throughout the trial.
Gda Hickey and Gda Burke have been remanded on continuing bail, pending sentencing on November 7.
The incidents at the centre of the trial occurred at about 3am on the morning of January 29, 2010, when Mr Holness was on his way home from a night out.
He started urinating on the side of the street but was seen by Hickey -- on patrol with a probationary garda at the time -- who stopped to speak to him.
When Gda Hickey tried to arrest Mr Holness, the victim resisted. He was then pepper-sprayed, grabbed in a headlock by Gda Hickey, bundled to the ground and punched several times in the back of the head, the prosecution said.
Following a call for assistance, Sgts McEnery and Kissane arrived. Sgt Kissane was alleged to have stood on Mr Holness's hand and on the back of his neck and head, while Sgt McEnery was alleged to have repeatedly struck him on the head with a closed fist.
Gda Burke was operating the city's CCTV system in the communications room at Waterford garda station at the time and was accused of directing a camera, focused on the scene, away from the incident for a number of seconds, twice.
Judge Reynolds ordered the preparation of a victim impact report in relation to Anthony Holness.