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Friday 21 July 2017

Stylist claims garda attacked her during lift home from disco

Tim Healy

A HAIRSTYLIST has claimed a garda wrongfully imprisoned and assaulted her after she allegedly got a lift home from a nightclub in his patrol car.

Antoinette Canty (30), of the Causeway, Tralee, Co Kerry, is taking High Court proceedings against the Minister for Justice, the Attorney General, the Garda Commissioner, and Garda Thomas Noonan, arising out of the alleged incident on March 16, 2001.

The defendants deny the claims, and the court was told that following an investigation of the alleged incident the DPP decided not to prosecute.

Ms Canty is seeking damages for psychological trauma, distress and upset.

Ms Canty told the court that after she left Cronin's Nightclub in Listowel, Kerry, she looked for a taxi but only saw what was "clearly a garda car with a man in a uniform" in the driver's seat. It was Gda Noonan, she said.

She was nervous about asking for a lift home but had drink in her. The garda told her to sit in. She noticed he did not take her normal route, and when he passed by her family home at Ahabeg, Lixnaw, Listowel, he didn't answer when she pointed this out to him, she said.

Uncle

Instead, he stopped outside her uncle's house about a half mile away and said to her that her uncle was in there.

She found it a bit odd and wanted to get out of the car, but she could not because the door was locked. She started to panic and Gda Noonan kept saying she would be alright.

"He put his hand on my upper thigh and I started screaming and shouting," she said before she kicked the steering wheel and indicators.

"He was trying to get on me to stop me kicking and I had to lie on my back. I just kept kicking to get him off me. I thought he was going to hurt me, rape or kill me," she said.

She told him: "Get your hands off me you f***ing bastard, get away from me."

All the time, he was trying to "get on me in a sexual way", she said. Her next recollection was getting out of the car and being in a field about four miles away and "running for my life." She remembered the car driving off.

"I wanted to get away from this man before he caught me, killed me -- that is what I felt like," she said.

Ms Canty said she had not told her GP about the alleged assault until five or six days after the incident because she lived in the country where and everybody knows everybody. "I didn't want to be telling him (the doctor) the things that went on. I felt very embarrassed and uncomfortable."

Ms Canty rejected claims by the defence that the incident never happened.

The court also heard the defence were contending that in a separate incident at the back of Listowel garda station, she was "sat in and locked in" the patrol car and went berserk.

Ms Canty also told the court she was not sure whether she had taken 14 drinks that night as the defence claimed.

She denied causing trouble at the nightclub and was not "very drunk".

She could not remember locking herself in to two cars that night. Under cross-examination, she denied she reconstructed events to blame Gda Noonan.

The hearing continues.

Irish Independent

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