Wednesday 24 January 2018

Gardai lose their appeal over assault convictions

Garda Martha McEnery
Garda Martha McEnery
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

A GARDA who vowed to fight to keep her "dream job" after she was convicted of assaulting a man two years ago has lost an appeal against her conviction.

Sergeant Martha McEnery and her colleague John Burke both lost appeals against their convictions at the Court of Criminal Appeal.

McEnery and Burke were among three officers investigated by the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission following the arrest of Anthony Holness (38) in Waterford in January 2010.

Former garda Daniel Hickey was also found guilty of assault causing harm to Mr Holness and was given a three-year sentence with 18 months suspended.

McEnery was given a four-month suspended sentence after she was convicted of common assault on Mr Holness.

Burke was found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice by turning a CCTV camera away from the scene during the assault.

Burke has retired from the force, but McEnery has previously indicated it was her "deepest aspiration" to remain in the force.

She did not comment following the failed appeal yesterday.

Ciaran O'Loughlin, counsel for McEnery, argued that the judge in the original trial should have directed the jury that the arrest of Mr Holness was lawful.

A video was played to the court which showed that Mr Holness was acting in a disorderly manner and had assaulted an officer prior to his arrest.

He then received kicks and punches to the head from gardai while he was restrained on the ground.

Arrest

Mr O'Loughlin told the court that every arrest contained some element of assault and that a charge of common assault against a garda was an unusual circumstance.

However, Michael Delaney, counsel for the DPP, said that the question was whether McEnery had knowingly used excessive force in the arrest of the suspect.

In a ruling by the three presiding justices, Adrian Hardiman, Eamon de Valera and Michael Peart, the appeal was rejected by the court.

An appeal by Burke -- because his conviction breached the double jeopardy rule and important expert testimony was not presented -- was also rejected.

Irish Independent

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