A 41-YEAR-OLD female Garda, who was kicked and punched in the head while attempting to arrest a known drug user, was today awarded almost €156,000 compensation.
Mr Justice Bernard Barton said during a Garda Compensation hearing in the High Court that Garda Louise Lordan was still suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and would need to be treated for continuing dental repairs.
In a reserved judgment he told barrister Aidan Walsh SC that the court accepted Garda Lordan, of Kilmore, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, remained vulnerable and still suffered from depression.
Judge Barton had heard that in November 2007, Garda Lordan, who was a member of the Traffic Corps unit in Cahir, Co Tipperary, had been patrolling in a car with colleague and driver, Mark Darmody, when they recognised the drug addict while driving close to them.
They had followed the man with sirens and flashing lights but he sped up off, turning very sharply on junctions and causing cars to “swirl.” The man’s vehicle had collided with other cars during his attempt to escape the Gardaí.
Garda Lordan said that as the chase was going on the drug addict’s car collided with a concrete barrier and one of the front wheels blew out, but the man continued driving with sparks flying from the rim.
The court heard that as the man was eventually forced to slow down, a woman jumped out of his car from the front passenger seat. Garda Lordan had given chase and apprehended the woman who had been very intoxicated and high on drugs. She became abusive and had hit her on the left hand side of her face with a large heavy handbag. The woman had spat on her when she had tried to arrest her.
Garda Lordan said as she walked towards her colleague, who was attempting to arrest the known drug addict, the man had punched her several times in the face. He had threatened to shoot both her and Garda Darmody.
Garda Lordan said she was taken to South Tipperary General Hospital with bruising on her back, shoulder and neck. Her face had been very swollen and she had three broken teeth.
Judge Barton had been told she had suffered from depression and PTSD and had been prescribed anti-depressants. She still occasionally experienced sleep disturbance, flashbacks and nightmares.
Garda Lordan said her personality had changed since the incident and she now had low self-esteem and lacked confidence. She said she was now working as a court presenter and was afraid to work outdoors again.
Judge Barton, awarding her €155,873, comprising of €14,873 for fees and expenses, €6,500 for future dental treatments, €85,000 for past pain and suffering and €50,000 for future pain, said Garda Lordan was still suffering from depression and was likely to remain traumatised by what had been described by doctors as a dreadful incident.