Monday 26 February 2018

Alleged sex assault 'petrified' garda

Majella O'Sullivan

A GARDA sergeant has told the Circuit Criminal Court that he never saw anyone as "petrified" while on duty as a female colleague who alleges she was sexually assaulted.

The garda alleges the offence happened during Puck Fair on August 13, 2008, when she was attempting to arrest a man for a public order offence.

She told Tralee Circuit Criminal Court he grabbed her vaginal area and began to squeeze it causing her to cry out in pain.

Cyril Moriarty (53) of Tulligbeg, Killorglin, Co Kerry, denies groping the garda. He also denies assaulting her causing her harm and obstructing a garda at Upper Bridge Street, Killorglin.

Sgt Michael Fleming, who was on temporary transfer to Killorglin for the festival, said he had heard his colleague screaming for assistance.

"The expression on her face was sheer terror," he added.

"I had never before or ever since seen a garda so petrified when she was on duty," he told the court.

"She was screaming 'He has me by the groin' and she was panicking and crying. It was an extremely violent situation."

Sgt Fleming said the accused had resisted arrest, lashed out at the gardai and attempted to spit blood at them. The court heard Mr Moriarty had cuts to his face and was bleeding.

The garda, who was on temporary transfer to Killorglin from another part of the country, said she could not bring herself to attend a sexual assault unit after the alleged assault.

"I've taken women to the sexual assault treatment unit and the thought of me going myself was horrendous. It was very hard for me to accept being the injured party in this regard," she told the court.

She said she had noticed blood in her underwear after the assault but had not thought to keep this as evidence.

"I was a 25-year-old woman when I went home that night. I was not a garda and I did not have my garda hat on me and I wasn't thinking about collecting evidence," she said.

She was "horrified" and "embarrassed" by what happened to her and wasn't able to return to duty for four months.

"I saw the aggression on his face and when I tried to push him away he just squeezed tighter. It was like he had a fist of my vaginal area and he was squeezing it tightly with his fingers.

"I was screaming and roaring crying and I was embarrassed about the way I was being assaulted and I didn't want to cry out for help," she said.

The garda said she suffered extensive bruising to her right wrist and cuts and bruising to her left hand.

Paramedic Shane Buckley, who attended to her injuries, said she was displaying signs of shock and hyperventilating. Her pulse was fast and weak, another indication of shock and she was upset but "trying to hold it together", he told the court.


The garda said that all she could think that night was that she wanted to get as far away from Killorglin as she could.

She had been unable to return to the town since the alleged assault and only went back before the trial on the advice of her psychiatrist that she should "confront her fears".

The trial continues at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court.

Irish Independent

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