Garda set to wed this weekend awarded €30k for mouth injury sustained on duty
A young garda, sensitive about a scar on his upper lip, joked with a judge Monday that he might have to wear make-up as he walks up the aisle with his bride next Saturday.
Garda Sean Kelly (31) who was awarded €30,000 compensation for an injury to his mouth just under five years ago, told Mr Justice Bernard Barton he was still conscious of the star-shaped scar on his right upper lip.
“The injury hasn’t impacted on his relationship with his fiancée and I wish both of them happy days,” Judge Barton said when compensating Garda Kelly for an injury he received on duty on 7th January 2012.
Barrister Fiona Gallagher, counsel for Garda Kelly, told the Garda Compensation Hearing in the High Court he had been called with two colleagues to a house in Finglas to deal with a man who had just been released from a psychiatric institution and was threatening self harm.
Ms Gallagher, who appeared with Keira O’Reilly, of Keans Solicitors, said that when Garda Kelly and his colleagues attempted to apprehend the man Garda Kelly had been hit on his mouth with a toilet brush holder which lacerated his lip.
Garda Kelly said the man, after ingesting large amounts of non-prescriptive medication, had locked himself in the bathroom of his home and was threatening to jump from the bathroom window.
The man would run in and out of the bathroom onto the landing and when gardaí had moved to apprehend him he had hit him across the face with a porcelain toilet brush holder.
Garda Kelly told Ms Gallagher he had bled profusely and another Garda car was called to take him to Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, where on examination a piece of porcelain was found to be still embedded in his upper lip. X-rays revealed he had not suffered any fractures.
He had been given an anaesthetic injection and received seven stitches, several of them on the inside of his mouth. Later, probably because of what he had been struck with, the wound had become infected and he had been put on a course of antibiotics until the infection cleared up.
Following the assault he had suffered considerable pain, discomfort and facial swelling and later a very small area around the wound had become numb and remained so. The laceration had gone right through his lip and he had sometimes bitten the repaired skin on the inside of his mouth when talking or eating.
He said he could still feel the inside scar with his tongue. The scar on the outside of his lip was noticeable at conversational distance and he was still very conscious of it.
Ms Gallagher: “And you have a very important special occasion coming up in your life soon?”
Garda Kelly: “Yes Judge, I’m getting married next Saturday. I may have to wear make-up to cover it up.”
Judge Barton: “I have no doubt you would prefer it wasn’t there but it hasn’t affected your relationship with your fiancée. I wish both of you very many happy days.”
Barrister Derek Ryan, counsel for the Minister for Public Expenditure, told the court there had been a conflict in medical reports on both sides as to whether or not Garda Kelly had developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but he did not think it was such as to merit an exceptional compensation award.
Judge Barton said he accepted that Garda Kelly had suffered pain and anxiety and a mild emotional reaction with regard to his injury and had been left with a star-shaped mark for life on his right upper lip. Part of the porcelain jar had been found in the tissue of his lip.