Thursday 14 December 2017

Garda 'forgot' to report rocks were thrown at protest

Witness Karen O'Connell pictured arriving to the Jobstown trial. Photo: Collins Courts
Witness Karen O'Connell pictured arriving to the Jobstown trial. Photo: Collins Courts

Sarah Jane Murphy

A garda has told the trial of seven men charged with falsely imprisoning TD Joan Burton that she made an error in her official statement when she omitted to say that rocks were thrown during the protest.

Solidarity TD Paul Murphy (34) along with South Dublin Councillors Michael Murphy (53) and Kieran Mahon (39) and four other men have pleaded not guilty to falsely imprisoning Ms Burton and her adviser Karen O'Connell by restricting their personal liberty without their consent at Fortunestown Road, Jobstown, Tallaght, on November 15, 2014.

On day seven of the trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court Garda Michelle McGuinness told the jury that she was sitting in the unmarked Garda car with Ms Burton and Ms Connell.

During cross-examination by Michael O'Higgins SC, defending Ken Purcell, she said rocks were among some of the "missiles" being thrown at the car.

Counsel noted she did not mention rocks in her statement and asked: "How could you forget that a rock was thrown?"

Gda McGuinness replied: "It was an error. It should have been in my statement." Mr O'Higgins put it to her the reason rocks were not in her statement was because "it didn't happen". The witness replied Gda McGuinness replied: “That's not correct”.

Another garda witness, Inspector Derek Maguire, told Sean Gillane SC, prosecuting, he heard Paul Murphy saying into a loud-hailer "We're gonna hold a democratic vote - will we let her go or hold onto her for the night?".

Earlier, Gda McGuinness told Mr Gillane she and her partner Garda Tony Cooke were ordered to travel to Jobstown as a protest "was getting out of hand".

After discussing the situation with other gardaí in the church Gda McGuinness and Gda Cooke moved Ms Burton and Ms O'Connell towards the car. "The atmosphere was very hostile," she said.

Gda McGuinness described how the car was then surrounded by 50 or 60 protesters. She described the situation as "extremely volatile".

Paul Murphy of Kingswood Heights, Tallaght, Kieran Mahon of Holbrook Grove, Tallaght, Michael Murphy of Whitechurch Way, Ballyboden, Dublin, Frank Donaghy (71) of Alpine Rise, Tallaght, Ken Purcell (50) of Kiltalown Green, Tallaght, Michael Banks (46) of Brookview Green, Tallaght, and Scott Masterson (34) of Carrigmore Drive, Tallaght, deny the charges. The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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