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State and gardai sued for trespass over search of retired couple's home

A RETIRED orthopaedic surgeon and his wife are suing the State for trespass over an early-morning search of their home by gardai who were seeking to interview their son about a fatal road accident.

Dr Eshwarprasadh Kessopersadh (74) and his wife Patricia (67) claimed in the High Court that they suffered shock, distress and embarrassment after three gardai wrongfully entered their Dublin home nearly nine years ago, looking to arrest their son Roshen (32) for the purpose of him making a statement about the accident.

The Kessopersadhs, who have eight children, claim that the gardai did not have reasonable cause or a warrant to entitle them to search their home at Springfield Drive, Templeogue, on August 11, 2004.

They say they had previously told gardai that Roshen, who was 23 at the time, would be out of the country on holidays.

They are suing the three officers, Sgt Geroid Keating, and Gardai Desmond McNally and Gary Bigley, all of Terenure garda station, the Minister for Justice, Ireland and the Attorney General for damages for trespass and breach of their constitutional right to privacy and family home.

Accident

The defendants deny the claims. The court heard they would argue they were entitled to search the house as they were seeking to arrest Roshen on suspicion of dangerous driving causing death. He was later charged with careless driving and acquitted.

The court heard the search arose out of a garda investigation into an accident the previous March 14 when pedestrian Laurence O'Neill died after being knocked down by a car driven by Roshen on the Templeogue Road, just 600 yards from the Kessopersadhs' home.

Opening the case yesterday, Michael Delaney SC, for the Kessopersadhs, said gardai called to the Kessopersadhs' home later that day (March 14) where they spoke to Roshen.

They did not take a statement but were told Roshen would be travelling to New Zealand in the summer.

On August 11, a week after Roshen had left for New Zealand, the gardai called to their home at 6.30am.

Dr Kessopersadh, who came to Ireland from South Africa 47 years ago, told them Roshen was not there, counsel said. He asked to see a warrant but gardai said they did not need one.

Counsel said that the crux of this case was whether the gardai had reasonable cause to believe the accident involving Roshen constituted an arrestable offence entitling them to enter the house without a warrant.

Under pre-trial discovery of documents, it was established that a garda inspector had recommended that Roshen should only be charged with careless driving, which was not an arrestable or indictable offence, counsel said.

The case continues.

Irish Independent