Garda claims he punched woman 'to defend himself'
A young garda who survived a holiday shooting in the US was accused of punching two young women in a row over a €15 fee for a lift home.
Garda Brian Hanrahan (34) appeared before Nenagh District Court accused of assaulting two women - who sobbed as they testified about how he had punched and kicked them near an isolated north Tipperary graveyard.
Judge Elizabeth MacGrath reserved judgment until February 10, after hearing the evidence.
She said she wanted to take time to consider the matter.
The garda, who was off duty, insisted he only acted in self-defence after he claimed one of the women "launched herself" at him in a row over the lift fee.
"She (Emer Kelly) got out of the car and attacked me.
"She wanted me to pay €50. The last thing I wanted or desired was an altercation of any description after what had happened in New Orleans (shooting)," Mr Hanrahan said.
"I am sorry she sustained an injury - but if I am attacked I am going to defend myself."
Michelle O'Connell, for the State, said gardaí became aware of an incident in Nenagh at 4am on March 6.
Emer Kelly was out with friends Aisling King and Ellen Nyhill.
Mr Hanrahan approached and said he'd pay €15 for a lift to his Ballintotty, Nenagh home.
"He was very rude. He said that Nenagh was full of scumbags," Ms Kelly said.
Mr Hanrahan also allegedly described Nenagh as "a kip".
When one of the young women joked that Nenagh men would not like to hear such derogatory comments, Ms Kelly said that Mr Hanrahan replied that he would fight anyone who took him on.
The women then asked Mr Hanrahan to get out of their car.
"Aisling went to drive off but I said I will ask him for the money.
"I didn't want her to leave without him giving her something," Ms Kelly said.
"The door was between me and Brian.
"He pulled my hair and beat me to the ground," Ms Kelly sobbed.
"He kicked me in the face while I was on the ground."
Ms Kelly rejected defence claims that she had attacked Mr Hanrahan, who is 6ft tall.
Aisling King said she was punched when she tried to help Ms Kelly.
A passing motorist, Eddie Ryan, said: "I saw Mr Hanrahan holding her (a young woman) by the hair."
Mr Hanrahan denied two assaults contrary to Section 3 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Persons Act.