Monday 11 December 2017

Garda ‘who had to retire’ after vicious assault is awarded €45,000

Retired Garda Peter Lynch
Retired Garda Peter Lynch

Ray Managh

A GARDA who claimed he had to take early retirement after he was “viciously” assaulted was today awarded €45,000 compensation in the High Court.

Peter Lynch (56), of Lee Road, Cork, told a Garda Compensation hearing that on September 16, 2002, he had been with a colleague in a patrol van when they saw a woman and her son in front of their home.

Mr Lynch told his barrister Lorraine O’Sullivan SC, the man was “very intoxicated and agitated,” and he and his colleague had to get out of the van to try and calm him.

When the “angry and violent” man had been told he would be arrested if he did not calm down, his brother and father had come out of the house and the Gardaí were “viciously assaulted” by all four members of the family. The family was not identified in court.

Mr Lynch said he was punched on his face and arms and struck on the head, shoulders and back with a piece of timber. He said he felt his life was in danger as the father threatened to kill him.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that the Gardaí had managed to call for assistance, and three of the men were arrested, the other one having escaped.

Lynch had suffered an abrasion to his face and soft tissue injuries to his arms and back. He had been to his GP and had been out of work for a week.

He said he later attended a psychiatrist because he had been unable to cope with the incident.  He felt he had lost control of the situation and of his life, developing post-traumatic stress disorder and panic attacks. 

Mr Lynch said he had been prescribed anti-depressants but stopped taking them after a month because “it was like taking Smarties.” He said he had later developed a drinking problem.

He said he was now sober. He claimed the assault had led to his decision to take voluntary retirement in 2008, after 30 years service.

Judge Irvine, said she did not accept Mr Lynch’s decision to retire was due to the assault only. She said there was no mention of it on his application for early retirement.

The judge said she accepted Mr Lynch had been affected by the assault, but he had worked “day in and day out” after the incident and it had not been the “dominant feature” for his decision to retire.

She awarded him €45,000 compensation in relation to his physical and psychological injuries.

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