Prison officer avoids jail after assaulting garda
A PRISON officer has avoided a jail term after assaulting a garda in a nightclub, writes Conor Gallagher.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Daniel Walsh (29) punched Detective Garda Clifford Singleton twice after making derogatory comments about his girlfriend.
The garda later withdrew his complaint about the incident to avoid Walsh being prosecuted. However, the Director of Public Prosecutions decided to proceed with the case.
Walsh of Islandbridge, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Det Gda Singleton at McGowan's in Phibsboro on June 6, 2010.
Judge Martin Nolan imposed a one-year sentence, suspended in full, after hearing Walsh faces losing his job. The prison officer has already handed over €30,000 in compensation.
The court heard that the garda and his girlfriend went out for the night to McGowan's Bar. They had ordered some drinks and were sitting at the bar talking when Walsh came up from behind and whispered an insult about Det Gda Singleton's girlfriend into his ear.
He again insulted the woman before punching the garda in the side of the head. CCTV footage showed him throwing three punches and landing two on the victim's head.
Det Gda Singleton was taken to hospital with a fractured jaw. He later required surgery on his jaw and missed several weeks of work.
Defence counsel John Byrne said his client was of "exemplary character" and very drunk on the night.