Thursday 23 November 2017

Gardai charged with assault after allegedly pepper-spraying a teenager

Gardai charged with assault after allegedly pepper-spraying a teenager
Gardai charged with assault after allegedly pepper-spraying a teenager
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

TWO Gardai have been charged with assault after allegedly pepper-spraying a juvenile while he was incapacitated.

Garda Brendan Dowling and Garda Fiona Sheehan both appeared before Cork District Court charged with assault causing harm to the teenager.

The charge relates to an alleged incident at Cook Street in Cork city centre on May 12 2012.

Both gardai, who have addresses care of Angelsea Street Garda Station, attended the brief hearing but did not address the court.

The complainant, who is now 17, also attended the hearing but did not speak during the brief proceedings.

"The allegation is that the injured party was pepper-sprayed while incapacitated. There were no significant physical injuries," Frank Nyhan, for the State, told the court.

Not details of the incapacitation involved was given in court.

Judge Olann Kelleher heard that the case will not be ready to proceed for some time.

In light of the lack of serious physical injuries involved, he accepted jurisdiction in the matter.

Frank Buttimer, who is representing Ms Sheehan, said both defendants will be vehemently contesting the single charge.

The prosecution is brought contrary to Section 3 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Persons Act.

Mr Buttimer said both are formally pleading not guilty.

Both defendants want the earliest possible hearing date so they can meet the allegation against them.

"They are very anxious to confront these matters as early as possible,"

Mr Buttimer said.

He applied for copies of all garda witness statements and related material.

Mr Nyhan said that "a significant amount is involved in that disclosure".

As a result, he said it would not be possible to fix a date for hearing the case at the present time.

Judge Kelleher listed the case for mention before Cork District Court on October 16 next.

Both gardai immediately left the court at the conclusion of the two minute hearing.

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