Sunday 17 December 2017

Man suing for alleged assault and false imprisonment after gardai mistakenly raided his home

Francis Foster of Nicholas Street, Dublin 8 pictured leaving the Four Courts. Photo: Courts Collins
Francis Foster of Nicholas Street, Dublin 8 pictured leaving the Four Courts. Photo: Courts Collins
Stock photo: A member of the garda ERU

Tim Healy

A MAN is suing for alleged assault and false imprisonment after the Garda Emergency Response Unit (ERU) mistakenly raided his home.

Francis Foster (58) claims he has been traumatised after members of the Garda ERU forced their way into his flat at Nicholas Street, near Christchurch Cathedral, at 6-30am on July 19, 2013.

Mr Foster claims he was walking from the bathroom to the bedroom when the front door was smashed in by three men dressed in full swat/riot gear.

He claims the men started shouting at him, one pushed him to his bed and physically restrained him while the others pointing guns at his head and neck.

It was only when they asked Mr Foster his name did he comprehend they were gardai, it is claimed.

After identifying himself to them, they realised they got the wrong person and were at the wrong address.

The three officers departed his home leaving the front door badly damaged.

The court heard a detective sergeant  remained in the sitting room of the flat and spoke to Mr Foster.

Arising out of the incident, he has sued the Garda Commissioner, Ireland and the Attorney General for assault, false imprisonment and the violation of his dwelling.

He claims he suffered trauma and shock as a result of what happened.

He is unable to sleep properly, suffers from panic attacks, flashbacks, post traumatic stress disorder, and is on medication.

The defendants deny the claims but accept they entered the wrong dwelling as part of an investigation into a serious crime.

It is denied the officers pointed guns at Mr Foster, that he was pushed to the bed, or that he was held hostage in the incident.

Opening the case, Mr Foster's counsel Jim O'Callaghan said the  ERU had made an "astonishingly reckless error".

They had intended to search another flat in the vicinity, counsel said, adding his client had never been in trouble with the Gardai.

The court heard he never received an official apology from the Garda Commissioner or the State parties.

The case continues before Mr Justice John Hedian and a jury.

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