Man in garda assault claim broke officer's jaw, court told
A YOUNG man who claims to have been assaulted by four gardai in his bedroom has admitted having a previous conviction for fracturing a garda's jaw.
Owen Gaffney (21) of Basin Street flats, Basin Street Upper, Dublin, yesterday told the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that he was "no angel" as a teenager.
However, he said the conviction he had received for fracturing the garda's jaw had been "mistaken" and that he had not been the one responsible for the injury. Mr Gaffney claimed that he had only pleaded guilty to avoid jail on the advice of his father and his solicitor.
He was given community service for fracturing the jaw of Garda Vincent Hourican in the incident -- which happened when he was aged 14 -- but he did not complete this and so was jailed for three months.
Gardai Sean O'Leary, Eoin Murtagh, Alan Conlon and Claire Delaney have all pleaded not guilty to forcing entry to a Basin Street Upper premises, entering as trespassers and assaulting Mr Gaffney, causing him harm, on February 17, 2008.
Gardai Murtagh, Conlon and Delaney have also pleaded not guilty to the false imprisonment of Fidelma Gaffney, the young man's mother, on the same occasion.
It emerged under cross-examination yesterday that Mr Gaffney has a total of 27 convictions -- despite telling the Garda Ombudsman that he had none.
He told the court he had never been violent to gardai in his life, insisting: "They were the ones violent to me."
Hugh Hartnett, SC for Garda O'Leary, put to Mr Gaffney a list of incidents with the gardai, including one on July 20, 2005, when he had been "bare-chested and aggressive" on Echlin Street in the city centre, had resisted arrest and had to be forcibly restrained.
Mr Gaffney agreed that it had happened but denied attempting to bite or kick officers.
He claimed he could not remember an incident on September 7, 2006, when he had drink taken and resisted arrest.
But he added: "It probably did happen as I admit when I was a young teenager I wasn't an angel."
He later said he would not be abusive to gardai but claimed they were abusive to him because "they didn't like me father".
Mr Gaffney denied suggestions that the gardai had entered his bedroom to arrest him for an incident that had occurred the previous day and denied attacking them. He also denied resisting an attempt by the gardai to hold him.
The trial continues.