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Garda pounded victim on ground with baton, trial told

A garda "whipped" and "pounded" a man with his baton while he was on the ground, a court was told yesterday.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court was told that the alleged victim died later that day but that the prosecution accepted that this was due to a drug overdose and unrelated to the garda's actions.

Garda Brendan Whitty (33), stationed at Kevin Street garda station, denies assaulting and causing harm to the late Keith Murphy on Thomas Street, Dublin 2, on September 20, 2007.

Shane Costelloe, prosecuting, told the jury that Gda Whitty used his baton while attempting to arrest Mr Murphy. He said he struck him a number of times before other gardai arrived and took Mr Muphy away. Mr Muphy was charged with a public order offence and released soon after.

Later the same evening, however, Mr Murphy was found in a comatose state and brought to hospital where he died a short time later. Mr Costelloe told the jury that the law allowed for Gda Whitty to use a certain amount of force when making an arrest.

He said it was up to the jury to decide whether Gda Whitty "acted within the parameters of the (Non Fatal Offences against the Person) Act."

Richard O'Callaghan told the court that he saw a garda "beating the s**t out of the young lad" who was on the ground.

Mr O'Callaghan said the man was trying to get up, shouting "I didn't do anything" while the garda was "pounding down on top of him".

He said the man was struck "umpteen times, 10 or 11" and that "it was so rapid it was hard to count".

Hugh Hartnett, defending, asked Mr O'Callaghan whether he had an "issue with gardai" and if he had any previous convictions.

"I'm not on trial here", Mr O'Callaghan responded before admitting he had several convictions but that they were from "the last century".

When asked how his memory is, the witness replied that it was "not that good" but that he could remember things when reminded of them.

He agreed with Mr Hartnett that he did not make a statement to gardai until two years after the incident.

Elizabeth McCabe told the court that she was waiting at a bus stop when she saw a garda interacting with two men. She said the garda gestured for one man to move away and when he refused the garda tried to arrest him.

Ms McCabe said the garda got a handcuff on one of the man's wrists and was shouting at him to get down. She said the alleged victim looked very unsteady on his feet and appeared to be "on something".


She said he could not get down quick enough so the garda started to hit him about the legs with a baton.

"He was trying to knock him down, take the legs from under him," she said.

Sharon Doyle told the court she was working in a jewellers on Thomas Street at the time of the incident when she went to the window after hearing screams.

She said she saw a garda "constantly hitting" a man who was "on his hunkers".

"There was no need for him to keep getting hit by the guard," she said. "That's why I got so upset."

The trial continues.

Irish Independent