Friday 20 July 2018

Garda bitten by man infected with HIV virus, court told

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Sonya McLean

A garda was bitten by a man infected with the HIV virus after he responded to a complaint of a domestic incident, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court has heard.

Garda Gary Dillane was attacked by Cedrick Chitsime (29) after he was called out to the home of the man's partner. The court heard the woman had rung gardaí to assist her in getting Chitsime to leave the apartment.

Gda Dillane was later treated for bruising and cuts to his face as well as the bite to his thumb following the attack.

He then learned that Chitsime was infected with the HIV virus after the man agreed to provide a blood sample for testing.

Gda Dillane said he had to attend the infection disease clinic as a precaution and was also prescribed HIV medication for a month before he was informed he had not contracted the disease.

Gavin Keogh BL defending, told Judge Martin Nolan that his client didn't become aware that he was HIV positive until he provided the blood sample to gardaí following his arrest for the assault. He has been living in Ireland for three years and is originally from Malawi.

Chitsime of North Circular Road, Phibsborough, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Gda Dillane causing him harm at Coultry Terrace in Ballymun on April 23, 2017. He has no previous convictions.

Judge Nolan said Chitsime “instantaneously became very aggressive” and described it as a “persistent and determined assault” adding that the gardaí had to “discharge the pepper spray to subdue him”.

He said Chitsime knew he was dealing with the gardaí as they were in full uniform. He said the man deserved a custodial sentence because he had tried to injure Gda Dillane.

Judge Nolan sentenced Chitsime to 18 months in prison but suspended the final 13 months of it on strict conditions.

Gda Dillane told Maurice Coffey BL, prosecuting that Chitsime was “slow to comply” when he first asked him to leave the apartment. He ultimately lunged at him and punched him, splitting his gum. He continued to swing at the garda, scratching his face before he tried to gouge out the officer's eye while he was attempting to arrest him.

Gda Dillane said Chitsime also squeezed his testicles and attempted to bite his nose before he bit his thumb while the garda was trying to defend himself. He and his colleague eventually used pepper spray on Chitsime after he picked up a dumbbell and threatened to swing it. He was then arrested.

Gda Dillane accepted a suggestion from Mr Keogh that although Chitsime hadn't apologised to him, his plea of guilty was an indication of his remorse.

Mr Keogh said Chitsime was in a loving relationship with his partner and she considerd him a good father. She now regrets calling the gardaí.

Counsel said his client “took the view that the gardaí were acting heavy handed and he reacted in an excessive way” but added that there was “no justification” for Chitsime's behaviour.

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