Thursday 25 December 2014

‘He went back that night and tried to hang himself’

Anita McSorley

Published 16/05/2014 | 11:50

Dr Richard O'Flaherty
Dr Richard O'Flaherty

A SPECIAL needs boy who was allegedly stripped and beaten while in Garda custody tried to take his own life.

Speaking on Newstalk’s Pat Kenny show this morning, the boy’s father said his son attempted to hang himself following the alleged ordeal.

The then 17-year-old boy was arrested after he borrowed his father’s car. He is now 26 years of age.

 “He went back that night and tried to hang himself. He had just completely lost his edge and he’s not been right since,” the man’s father told Pat Kenny this morning.

Retired doctor, Richard O’Flaherty, outlined his allegations regarding the teenager on Wednesday when he addressed a meeting of the Oireachtas Justice committee at Leinster House.

Dr O’Flaherty is a member of victims’ support group ‘Justice4All’.

He told committee members the boy was stripped and beaten by gardai who laughed at him.

The doctor was speaking during a hearing on proposed changes to the Garda Siochana Act.

The boy’s father, who was not named to protect his son’s identity, gave his version of events this morning, and said his son was seriously affected.

 “This happened when he was 17 or 18, I’m not 100 percent sure.

“He took my car out for a spin without insurance. I used to phone him every hour to make sure he was okay. He was just after being stopped by the guards when I happened to ring. A guard answered the phone and told me my son was going to be arrested.

“I got the wife and we went down to the station to see what was wrong. When we got there they brought us into a room. We heard all this banging and asked was that our son. They said no, that’s not your son.

“I tried to explain how my son had intellectual difficulties, but they wouldn’t listen.”

When his son was returned after four hours, his father says he was shaken to the point where he didn’t even know where he was.

“They pulled him down the stairs into a cell and beat him to a pulp. We took off his shirt to see all the marks down his back. They pulled down his pants and beat him with a belt,” the father claimed.

“We sent him to the hospital the next day and they found his spine was also injured. He spent four days in the hospital.”

He says his son is now 26 years of age but he acts like he’s only 14.

“Sometimes he understands and sometimes he doesn’t. He lives in his own world and doesn’t go out. He stays in his room and listens to music. He has no life at all.”

The father says he wants justice for him.

“We went and complained to the ombudsman who didn’t believe us when we said what happened. We took out a case again and it went on and on and eventually, not so long ago, my solicitor called me to say that we couldn’t go any further with this case because it would cost too much. He said when the ombudsman changed over, all the forms got lost.

“I just want justice for him. If I did that to some child I would be locked up.”

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