A decision in the case of a Bray man charged with the assault of a garda who claims that he is the victim of police harrassment was deferred by Judge Murrough Connellan at a special sitting of Bray District Court on Monday.
Brendan Kinlan, 35 Wolfe Tone Sqaure West, Bray, is charged with obsutruction, threatening/abusive behaviour and assault on February 7 last, threatening/abusive behaviour on Putland Road on the same date. He was convicted of failing to produce an insurance certificate on October 5 last at Wolfe Tone Square West, while a charge of having no insurance on the same date was struck out.
Garda Joseph Waldron told the court that he received a call for backup from Garda Stephen Bolger on February 7 while on patrol. Garda Bolger informed him he had seen two men engaged in what he believed was a drugs transaction.
On his arrival at the scene, Garda Waldron saw the defendant there with another individual. A phone belonging to the man was then thrown into Kinlan's driveway. When a student garda was sent to retrieve it, Garda Waldron said that Kinlan struck him by putting his arms out. After warning Kinlan about his behaviour, Garda Waldron said that he informed him that he wanted to search his car, which he did. He then told Kinlan to empty his pockets out onto the boot of his car. When Kinlan put his mobile phone on the boot, Garda Waldron said he picked it up in order to search for drugs. However, he said that Kinlan grabbed it from him and threw it over the roof of his house before running into the house. He re-emerged a few minutes later and was then arrested by Garda Waldron.
The garda told that court that en route to the station, Kinlan said I hope you get to spend this week's money. We'll see who strikes first.'
Under cross examination, Garda Waldron denied that he had picked up the phone in order to search through the phone book and text messages, claiming that he intended to search for drugs inside the phone.
He also denied a suggestion that he was in jovial humour' and had made a remark that he would be getting a pay rise after getting Kinlan in jail. When it was put to Garda Waldron that this was part of a concerted effort to harrass and intimidate Kinlan, Garda Waldron replied absolutely not'.
He added that he was unaware of a complaint being made by Kinlan regarding harassment.
Garda Waldron said that he had stopped the defendant approximately a dozen times in the six months prior to this incident, adding that Kinlan knows him well.
Garda Stephen Bolger said that he was on patrol at 11.20 a.m. on the morning in question when he saw Kinlan and another man exchange something. He called for assistance from Garda Waldron, who arrived at the scene and began to speak with Kinlan. Garda Bolger said that he saw Garda Waldron pick up the defendant's phone after he emptied his pockets, at which point, Kinlan got the phone from him and threw it over the house.
Similar evidence was also given by Garda Declan Scott, who was on plain clothes duty with Garda Wadron in an unmarked car that day. He described seeing Kinlan grabbing the phone from Garda Waldron after he picked it up.
Garda Scott said that Kinlan had stated, This is garda harrassment. We'll see who strikes first'.
Garda Eoin O'Neill, who was a student garda at the time, told the court that Kinlan struck his face with his hands when he attempted to retrive the mobile phone from his garden. He said that Kinlan became very threatening and aggressive, telling him to get the f**k' off his property.
Giving evidence, Kinlan told the court that in the four months prior to this incident, he had been stopped and searched by gardaí between 18 and 20 times. He added that he was often stopped in his car, and his children and other family members now refused to get in the car with him because they were frightened.
On the day in question, Kinlan claimed that he had returned from bringing his children to school and was talking with a neighbour after tending to his ponies with his friend. He said he was then rugby tackled' by a garda, describing it as something you'd see on Cops''.
He said he then went into his home and put on the kettle before coming back outside a few minutes later.
Kinlan claimed that Garda Wadron say, I'll get a rise in my wages this time', after arresting him.
Inspector James Martin said that Kinlan was known to the gardaí, and on the day in question, they had reasonable cause to assume that a drug deal was taking place.
Judge Connellan said he would defer his decision on the charges arising from February 7 last until Friday July 6 as there were one or two small matters' which need to be addressed. He fined Kinlan ?75 for failing to produce an insurance certificate and struck out the charge of no insurance after it was confirmed that he was insured to drive.