Garda left with snoring issues after head-butt injury awarded €25k in damages
A garda sergeant, who had to move into the spare room at home because of his snoring, has been awarded damages in the High Court for a head-butt injury to his nose.
Sergeant Noel McSweeney, who suffered the injury while on duty, told a garda compensation hearing that his snoring affected his wife more than it did him and he had to move into the spare room “on a couple of occasions.”
Barrister Ellen Gleeson told Mr Justice Michael Twomey that Sergeant McSweeney, of Enniscorthy Garda Station had been engaged in a search for a missing woman in May 2012 when the incident occurred.
McSweeney told Ms Gleeson, who appeared for him with solicitor Ernest Cantillon, that the woman had been found extremely intoxicated and aggressive in a car in which there had been drugs and she had been taken into custody.
“She jumped back and threw her head backwards, hitting me in the nose and upper teeth,” Sergeant McSweeney said.
He said he had fractures to four of his upper front teeth and the line of his nose had been knocked slightly off. He suffered a deviated septum which had resulted in a restriction of the airflow through his nose.
“The appearance of my nose wasn’t upsetting to me so I decided not to have surgery correcting it. Perhaps if I was a model it would be different,” he said.
Sergeant McSweeney said he had been reviewed six months after the incident and had told his doctor about his snoring problem. “I wasn’t aware of it but I did have to sleep in the spare room on a couple of occasions,” he said.
McSweeney told William Maher, counsel for the State, that he had only slight discomfort with the airflow in his nose. He had decided against surgery after having been told that surgery would be required only for cosmetic reasons.
Judge Twomey, who has been appointed to deal with the Garda Compensation List and had been hearing such cases for the first time Monday, said the Book of Quantum suggested damages of €7,500 for minor dental damage and he would add to this €18,000 compensation for the injury to Sergeant McSweeney’s nose.
He awarded total damages of €25,500 and costs against the State.