Courts

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Woman's sexual assault claim against garda dismissed

Tim Healy

Published 01/04/2014|13:31

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Antoinette Canty from Tralee Co. Kerry, arriving at the Four Courts for her High Court action.Pic: Collins Courts
Antoinette Canty from Tralee Co. Kerry, arriving at the Four Courts for her High Court action.Pic: Collins Courts

THE High Court has dismissed as a woman's claim that she was sexually assaulted by a garda in his patrol car 13 years ago.

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Antoinette Canty (33) sued now retired garda Thomas Noonan and the Minister for Justice over what she claimed was an incident involving the then officer in Listowel, Co Kerry, on March 16/17 2001.

She claimed he gave her a lift and after driving past her family home,  put his hand on her upper thigh and shoulder before she kicked out and ran from the car.

Mr Noonan denied the claims and said while he gave her a  short lift from a chip shop she had been asked to leave as far as Listowel Garda Station, in order to arrange for her mother to take her home, the

incident as described by Ms Canty never happened.   A garda

investigation was carried out into her allegations but the DPP decided not to prosecute.

Today, Mr Justice Iarflaith O'Neill said Ms Canty had an extreme amount of alcohol that night, some 14 to 15 drinks, and her capacity for cognitive functioning was seriously impaired.

What happened that night was probably that Ms Canty was driven to the back of the station and did run from the car, he said.

She later returned to Listowel and given previous attempts she had made to get a cab, she had accepted a lift from a dark car but not

from a white marked garda patrol car.   During the course of a journey

in that other car, she experienced a frightening event, he said.

But, he added, he was quite satisfied Mr Noonan was not the driver of that car and that it was not a garda vehicle.  He found Mr Noonan's evidence reliable and credible but said Ms Canty's memory of the night appeared to have been subsequently reconstructed

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