Gardai punched and kicked man during arrest, trial told
Published 15/07/2011 | 05:00
THREE gardai are alleged to have assaulted a man who urinated on the street by punching, kicking and standing on him as a fourth moved a CCTV camera located at the scene, a court was told yesterday.
The four gardai, all based at Waterford garda station in Ballybricken in the city, are on trial at Waterford Circuit Court in relation to the incidents alleged to have occurred on January 29 of 2010 at New Street in the city.
Sergeant Alan Kissane, Sergeant Martha McEnery and Garda Daniel Hickey all deny assaulting Anthony Holness (38), causing him harm; while Garda John Burke denies acting with intent to impede the apprehension or prosecution of another and acting in a manner tending and intended to pervert the course of justice.
The trial follows an investigation by the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission.
Prosecutor Michael Delaney told the court that Mr Holness, of Belvedere Drive, Paddy Browne's Road, Waterford, was on his way home from a night out when he was "caught short".
Gda Hickey arrived at the scene, spoke to Mr Holness and, as a result, decided to arrest the man. Mr Holness then swung at the garda with his jacket. Mr Delaney told the court that Gda Hickey deployed a canister of pepper spray, pursued Mr Holness and bundled him to the ground.
"He proceeded to punch him repeatedly into the head as Anthony Holness lay on the street, face down," counsel said.
When Sgt Kissane and Sgt McEnery arrived at the scene, Sgt McEnery "struck Anthony Holness with a closed fist over the back of the head or neck as he lay on the ground, a number of times", Mr Delaney said. Sgt Kissane then stood on the alleged victim's hand and placed his foot on Mr Holness's head. Mr Delaney told the court that Gda Burke was operating the city's CCTV system.
He heard a call for assistance from Gda Hickey on the garda radio and operated "camera number 19", on the corner of John Street and New Street. It captured images of the incident between Gda Hickey and Mr Holness but "at crucial times in the course of the assault", the camera was turned away from the incident for a number of seconds and positioned so Mr Holness couldn't be seen.
Mr Holness said Gda Hickey approached him as he was urinating on the street.
He was pepper-sprayed in the eyes, the witness said, and "blinded" as a result. He was bundled to the ground "forcibly" and handcuffed. He could feel "pressing" and then heard another vehicle arrive. He was then beaten over the head several times, picked up "very roughly" and put "forcibly" into a garda van.
The trial continues.