Sunday 25 February 2018

Gun held to man's neck by garda in raid mix-up

Tim Healy

A GARDENER had a gun put to his neck and handguns pointed at his head by armed gardai who mistakenly thought he was part of a robbery gang at a petrol station.

John Paul King told a High Court jury yesterday that he was called a scumbag as a man knelt on his back with a gun pointed to his neck.

When detectives realised Mr King was an innocent bystander, he said he was told by an officer he had been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Mr King (40), of Kingshall, Newscastle, Co Wicklow, is suing the State following the incident outside the 'On the Run' shop and restaurant attached to the Esso petrol station on the Navan Road, Dublin, nine years ago.

In his action against the Garda Commissioner, the Justice Minister and the Attorney General, Mr King claimed he was set upon, assaulted and falsely imprisoned by armed men in boiler suits, who transpired to be gardai.

Mr King, it is claimed, did not know what was happening and was under the impression he was being subjected to an armed robbery and has suffered post traumatic stress disorder as a result of his ordeal and suffers flashbacks.

The defendants claim that when it was established that he was an innocent bystander, Mr King was immediately released.

Mr King was arrested but it is claimed in the state defence that the gardai had information that an armed robbery would take place on a cash-in-transit vehicle at a number of possible locations, one of which was the Esso petrol station.

Mr King was on his mobile and it had been noted that the modus operandi of gangs robbing cash in transit vans often included a person on site communicating with them on a mobile.

Flee

It is claimed that as gardai moved to apprehend the robbers as they got out of a car on the forecourt, Mr King threw away his phone and ran. As a result, it is claimed the Emergency Responsibility Unit reasonably apprehended he was a member of the robbery gang and was attempting to flee the scene.

Mr King said on August 5, 2003, he had stopped for a bite to eat at the Esso service station.

He went outside to the forecourt to make a telephone call. He was on the phone when he saw men in blue jumpsuits with guns running towards him.

"I just ran. I did not know what to do," he said, adding that he dropped his phone.

He said he was on his stomach with a man kneeling on his back pointing a gun in his neck with two other men pointing guns at his temples.

Mr King said when he got home he was "in bits". "Nobody apologised to me," he said.

The case continues.

Irish Independent

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