A GARDA accused of assaulting a man during an arrest has been acquitted.
Last night, the Garda Representative Association welcomed the unanimous verdict, which came less than an hour after the jury was discharged yesterday evening.
Garda Brendan Whitty (29), stationed at Kevin Street garda station, had pleaded not guilty at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Keith Murphy on Thomas Street, Dublin, on September 20, 2007.
The trial had heard Mr Murphy died hours after the alleged assault but his death was from a drug overdose and unrelated to the garda's actions.
Gda Whitty gave evidence that he did not fill out a report detailing the use of his baton that day because his shift was finished and he "did not see the urgency in doing it".
The garda denied a suggestion by prosecuting counsel Shane Costelloe that he used "far more force than required to control the situation" while arresting Mr Murphy.
"I did not use excessive force," Gda Whitty said. "I used enough force to protect myself."
He told defence counsel Hugh Hartnett that he was on foot patrol in the Thomas Street area when he saw two men having an argument.
He said he went over to them with the intention of taking their names and telling them to leave the area, but Mr Murphy became aggressive and shouted: "What the f**k are you doing?"
Gda Whitty said Mr Murphy became "extremely aggressive" and after he resisted attempts to put handcuffs on him, Gda Whitty took out his ASP baton. He said he struck him once but that it had no effect except to make him angrier.
Gda Whitty said he struck him several more times until Mr Murphy went down on his hunkers. He said he then put away his baton and handcuffed Mr Murphy. He said he could not remember how many times he hit him before he went down.
He told Mr Costelloe that he brought Mr Murphy back to the station and charged him with two public order offences.
He said he learnt of Mr Murphy's death the next day and filed a report.
Judge Desmond Hogan thanked the jury for their service before he told Gda Whitty he was free to go.