Monday 21 August 2017

'Gardai locked my mum in bathroom and then beat me'

Court told of assault claim after raid

Sarah Stack

Sarah Stack

A MOTHER was locked in a bathroom while her son was beaten by four gardai who attacked him as he slept in bed, a court heard yesterday.

Owen Gaffney needed hospital treatment after he was hit with batons and kicked and punched by officers who forced their way into his Dublin home, it was claimed.

Four gardai -- Alan Conlon, Claire Delaney, Eoin Murtagh and Sean O'Leary -- are on trial accused of assault causing harm to Mr Gaffney, as well as forcible entry and trespass at the family home in the south inner city on February 17, 2008.

Gda Conlon, Gda Delaney and Gda Murtagh are also accused of the false imprisonment of Mr Gaffney's mother Fidelma in a bathroom of her Basin Street flat.

They have pleaded not guilty to each of the charges.

Opening the case for the prosecution at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, senior counsel Tom O'Connell said the case was about members of An Garda Siochana acting unlawfully.

"At the time, he (Mr Gaffney) was a little tearaway when one looks at his criminal convictions," he said.

"But even so he was still entitled to the full protection of the law and to be dealt with in full accordance with the law."

He said it was the prosecution's case that the gardai arrived in numbers without a search or arrest warrant and forced their way in to Ms Gaffney's flat.

He claimed Mr Gaffney was kicked and punched by all four gardai and beaten with a baton by Gda O'Leary and Gda Murtagh.

Forcibly

"His mother was in there in the beginning of the assault and then she was forcibly taken from the bedroom and she was put in the bathroom and the door was held shut," he added.

Three of the gardai -- Gda Delaney, Gda Murtagh and Gda O'Leary -- were stationed in Kilmainham at the time. Gda Conlon was stationed at Kevin Street station.

Mr O'Connell said three other gardai who were not involved in the alleged assault but were at the flat will give evidence during the trial, adding that an attempt had been made to suppress their knowledge.

He told the court witnesses will claim Gda O'Leary lifted Mr Gaffney's duvet and hit him over the head with a baton -- while another garda kicked him in the head as his mother watched.

Someone then grabbed Ms Gaffney by the throat, forced her into the bathroom and held the lever handle up for about five minutes, Mr O'Connell alleged.

The prosecutor said a friend of Mr Gaffney's had seen the gardai entering the flat and recorded the incident on his mobile phone.

A copy of the recording, which lasted almost two minutes, was later handed over to the Garda Ombudsman's office, which investigated the Gaffneys' complaints.

Doctors later noted a bruise on Mr Gaffney's head, swelling to his nose which had been bleeding, bruising to the front and back of his upper body and a superficial laceration on his right upper arm when he arrived at St James's Hospital.

Investigators also photographed blood on Mr Gaffney's bed, radiator, wall and bedroom door, Mr O'Connell added.

Mr O'Connell said Ms Gaffney would give evidence that she was shown a piece of paper, which was not a warrant, before the accused gardai entered her home.

Mr O'Connell said: "What the prosecution will be asking you to do at the end of the day is infer from DNA evidence that Gda Murtagh was involved in the assault on Owen Gaffney."

The barrister said there had been conflict between gardai and Mr Gaffney, who had a history of public order offences, with an altercation the night before the incident.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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