independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Man to be sentenced later for biting a garda

A GARDA had to wait six months to find out if he had contracted HIV after he was bitten during a domestic disturbance, a court has heard.

The incident occurred as the garda was restraining a HIV-positive man because he was concerned about the safety of a child.

Noel Winterlich (34) of Edgeworth Court, Enfield in Meath pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm on November 9, 2008 on Cork Street in Dublin.

Judge Carmel Stewart remanded him on continuing bail until sentencing in March.

Sergeant Michael Nagle told prosecuting counsel Paul Carroll BL that Winterlich broke the garda's skin and drew blood.

Winterlich suffers from hepatitis and HIV but the garda was given the all clear six months after the incident.

Sgt Nagle said the victim had to take antiretroviral medication which had an adverse affect on his health. He was under severe stress while awaiting the results and suffered embarrassment because he had to get multiple tests in a clinic based in an area where he policed.

"He's a very decent, good, hard-working professional guard," Sgt Nagle said. "He had difficulty understanding why another human being would bite him."

The incident occurred while Winterlich's young son was staying with him. The child's mother was concerned for her son's safety but when she went to pick him up Winterlich and the child were not there.

She called the gardai who arrived shortly before Winterlich returned with the boy. Winterlich became enraged that the gardai were in his house.

When he tried to go into the bedroom to confront the child's mother gardai restrained him because they were concerned for the child's safety.

Winterlich claimed he bit the garda by accident during the struggle but this was rejected by the prosecution.

Pieter Le Vert BL, defending, said his client had apologised to the garda and released his medical records to him. He said he was a long term drug addict but had managed to get clean for a two year period.

Counsel said he relapsed into drug abuse after the death of his father but was now clean again. Winterlich has 51 previous convictions for minor matters.

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