Gardai defend colleague on assault charge
A GARDA accused of beating a suspect following a high-speed chase used justified force, according to colleagues who gave evidence at his trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
Several gardai told the jury that they saw the accused hit the suspect repeatedly with his baton -- but claimed that this was not excessive as the suspect was "kicking violently".
Garda Gerard Curtis (23) of Ardee, Co Louth, has pleaded not guilty to assault and assault causing harm to Mr John Paul Maughan (19) on Alexandra Road in the Dublin Docks on July 11, 2009.
Mr Maughan was a passenger in a stolen car and was allegedly assaulted following a high-speed chase through the city centre.
The jury was shown CCTV footage of Mr Maughan's capture. They were told the footage showed the lead-up to the arrest of Mr Maughan after he had been pulled from the stolen car.
Garda Niamh Galligan, who was stationed at Store Street with Garda Curtis, told prosecuting counsel, Mr Maurice Coffey BL, that she and Garda Curtis were in a patrol car when they got a call about a suspected car theft at knifepoint.
They were first on the scene when the stolen car crashed near the water on Alexandria Road. She said Garda Curtis engaged with Mr Maughan and she agreed that the CCTV footage showed him striking the suspect with a baton.
"He used the correct amount of force as Mr Maughan was kicking out and being violent," she told Mr Breffni Gordon BL, defending.
Garda PJ Gallagher also said Mr Maughan was acting violently enough for the accused to strike him with his baton.
Garda PJ Gallagher said Mr Maughan was on the ground but was kicking violently.
He said Garda Curtis hit him "two or three times" on the legs.
The trial continues.