Engineer's 'choke' claims against police thrown out
AN engineer who said he was "kneed" and "choked" by airport police officers had his €38,000 personal injuries claim thrown out of court yesterday.
Judge Jacqueline Linnane told the 51-year-old that she did not accept his evidence about an alleged assault at Dublin Airport four years ago.
The judge said Dermot Lennon, of Laragh House, Laragh, Castleblaney, Co Monaghan, had been threatening and aggressive towards airport police who had used only reasonable force in arresting him.
Throwing out Mr Lennon's €38,000 personal injuries claim against the Dublin Airport Authority, the judge said in the Circuit Civil Court that police had not assaulted him.
She said Mr Lennon's evidence of alleged minor injuries which had cleared up in a few days was not consistent with his claims of having been "kneed" and "choked".
The judge told barrister Eamon Marray, counsel for the DAA, that airport police had been justified in arresting Mr Lennon because of his behaviour. She directed he pay the authority's legal costs estimated at more than €10,000.
Mr Lennon said that on May 19, 2007, his wife Barbara and some friends had been delayed for several hours on a flight.
He arranged to pick them up at the departures set-down area and when told by customer service agent Igorz Golovchenko that he could not park there he said he was going to anyway.
Mr Golovchenko said he would call the police and Mr Lennon had told him to go ahead.
After refusing to hand over his keys to airport police, he got out of his car and in seconds was kneed in the thigh, lost his feet from under him, was caught around the neck and was choking for breath, he said.
He added that he was hanging by the neck from a policeman's arm and felt he was losing his senses. He had been handcuffed and taken to the airport police station.
Airport police officers Trevor Giltrap, John Buckley and Stephen Morris told the court Mr Lennon was agitated and became abusive and aggressive and started screaming and kicking as he was restrained and handcuffed after having raised a hand in what they considered to be a threatening manner. They denied he had been kneed or choked. All stated Mr Lennon had said several times "f**king arrest me".
The judge said she had been impressed by the evidence of Mr Golovchenko and accepted the evidence of the airport police.