Tuesday 20 March 2018

Gardai say sorry for arresting cousin of siege man

Thomas Walsh (42) outside court.
Thomas Walsh (42) outside court.

Tim Healy

GARDAI have apologised to a man who sued over alleged assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

They acknowledged to Thomas Walsh they had got the "wrong person" in an incident in which three patrol cars were allegedly involved in stopping and arresting him while he was riding his motorbike.

Mr Walsh is a cousin of John Carthy, who died after being shot by members of the garda Emergency Response Unit during a siege at his home at Abbeylara, Co Longford, in April 2000.

He took a case against the Justice Minister, Garda Commissioner and State alleging assault and false imprisonment over an incident in 2007.

Now he will receive a sum in compensation, plus his legal costs, under the settlement.

Mr Walsh (42), of Toneymore, Abbeylara, Co Longford, was in court yesterday when Mr Justice Eamon de Valera was told his action had been settled.

A statement read in court by Conor Maguire, counsel for the defendants said: "It is acknowledged by gardai that, when Mr Walsh was arrested, he was the wrong person. The gardai regret the distress caused."

In his action, Mr Walsh claimed damages arising from an incident on February 18, 2007, when, he alleged, a patrol car forced him to stop while he was lawfully driving his motorbike at the Delvin by-pass roundabout in Co Westmeath.

It was claimed two other patrol cars arrived and he was surrounded by gardai, that his arm was grabbed, he was thrown across the bonnet of a patrol car, pulled back into an upright position and his motorbike helmet grabbed with force.

He claimed he suffered injuries to his ears, neck and back, the gardai behaved in an aggressive and threatening manner, shouted abuse at him and he was thrown into a patrol car with force.

It was claimed he was accused of doing "wheelies" at high speed, endangering life and running people off the road.

It was also claimed that he was called "a f*****g lunatic" and a "stupid little c***" and that one garda threatened to assault him in the garda station.

Mr Walsh also alleged that he was told that all the gardai in Mullingar garda station were going to testify it was Mr Walsh's bike and registration number they were pursuing and Mr Walsh was going to jail.

He was in fear for his life and in constant fear of physical assault while in the station, he alleged. Mr Walsh was later charged with dangerous driving at Delvin Road, Mullingar.

The charges were withdrawn in November 2007.

Irish Independent

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