Thursday 22 August 2019

Garda 'glassed and scarred' by man while making arrest awarded €93k

The court heard he also suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

The High Court, Dublin
The High Court, Dublin

Ray Managh

A Garda, “gratuitously glassed in the face and significantly scarred” by a man he was attempting to arrest, has been awarded just over €93,000 at a Garda Compensation hearing in the High Court.

Mr Justice Bernard Barton said the ferocity of the assault and the weapon used indicated that the assailant who attacked Garda Richard Herity, while simply carrying out his duty, had intended to hurt and inflict the maximum damage on him.

The judge said Garda Herity, formerly of Ballymun Garda Station and “now a Detective Garda carrying out duties extremely important in terms of the security of the State”, had put a horrific experience behind him and had got on with his life.

Det Garda Herity, now attached to the Special Detective Unit at Harcourt Square, Dublin, told barrister Breffni Gordon that in April 2011 he had been directed to Watermill Road, Raheny, Dublin, to intercept a man suspected of having been involved in an assault at nearby St Ann’s Park.

“The man was carrying a four-feet-long stick and had tried to hit me with it but I successfully fended off the attack,” he told Mr Gordon who appeared with Murray Flynn Maguire solicitors.

“He then hit me across the face with what I later discovered was a bottle and the blood started gushing from my forehead and the side of my left eye,” he told Mr Gordon.  “Before dropping the bottle he stabbed it into my left forearm.”

Det Garda Herity said he managed to restrain his attacker and called for assistance.  Once his colleagues had arrested and removed his assailant he, Herity, had been taken to the Accident and Emergency Department of Beaumont Hospital.  Prior to this a woman had helped stem the bleeding.

He said he had to have 16 stitches inserted in the wound in his arm and another array of stitches in lacerations on his forehead and a wound running from his left eye in the direction of his ear. In all he had received 11 injections of local anaesthetic while the sutures were being inserted.

He said he had suffered psychological injuries which included sleepless nights, nightmares and flashbacks.  A specialist had told him he had for a time suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

When cross-examined by Conor Dignam SC, who appeared with barrister Derek Ryan for the Minister for Public Expenditure, he said there was no functional deficit in relation to the scarring to his face.

He told Mr Dignam, who was instructed on behalf of the Minister by Ms Bronagh McEvoy, that there had been a massive improvement since 2011in his symptoms but some people still stared at his facial scars.

Judge Barton, awarded him €50,000 for his suffering and scarring and €35,000 for his psychological injuries as well as agreed special damages of €8,371.  He noted the Minister had not in any way sought to denigrate or render as insignificant the extent of Det Garda Herity’s injuries.

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