Thursday 16 August 2018

Garda who dislocated thumb while making arrest is awarded €15,000

Wexford-based Garda Barry Hennessy pictured leaving the Four Courts yesterday Photo: Collins Courts
Wexford-based Garda Barry Hennessy pictured leaving the Four Courts yesterday Photo: Collins Courts

Ray Managh

A garda, who told a court he was an avid golfer who in cold weather had to take pain killers before teeing off, has been awarded €15,000 compensation in the High Court for an injury he suffered while attempting to make an arrest.

Wexford-based Garda Barry Hennessy told Mr Justice Michael Twomey in a Garda Compensation hearing that while there was nothing he could not do since dislocating his thumb nine years ago, he sometimes suffered pain and stiffness.

Hennessy, (36), told his barrister David Richardson that in June 2009 he was called to a house in Clonard Village, Wexford, where loud music was blaring from open windows and disturbing locals.

He had found the door open and had entered, finding a man lying on a couch. Another man, who had been on a balcony, came in and a discussion took place in which he had been asked what he was doing there and if he had a warrant. The second man had started to roar and shout.

Garda Hennessy told Mr Richardson, who appeared with Hughes Murphy Solicitors, that he had been pushed and punched in the face. As he attempted to make an arrest his left thumb was pushed back and dislocated.

He said there were golf clubs and a fishing rod in the apartment and he thought it prudent to withdraw. When he had reported back to the garda station a colleague had taken him to the local hospital where his thumb was manipulated under local anaesthetic.

Garda Hennessy told Judge Twomey he was off work for a brief period before returning to light duties. He had a cast on his thumb for several weeks.

“There is nothing I cannot now do with my thumb but when it involves lifting something or gripping something it can still be painful. I have had to take pain killers before playing golf,” he said.

He told the court he had been advised that he should have surgery but had not gone down that avenue. If matters reached a certain stage he would consider having an injection into his thumb joint and if that failed he would consider surgery.

Judge Twomey, who was told that in somewhat similar cases of ligament rupture the court had previously made awards of between €35,000 and €57,000, awarded Garda Hennessy €15,000.

The judge said Garda Twomey had been forced to abandon the arrest and had the dislocation reduced under local anaesthetic.  He had not undergone physiotherapy and while surgery and injection had been suggested, neither treatment had been taken up by him.

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