A FORMER garda who assaulted a young student while on duty has been given a six-month suspended sentence by the Court of Criminal Appeal, writes Laura Whelan.
Michael Kiernan (54), with an address care of a firm of solicitors, was given three years' probation by Judge Sean O Donnabhain at Cork Circuit Court after he pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to a 21-year-old UCC student at Hanover Street, Cork, on February 23, 2007.
Yesterday, in the first appeal case to be held in the new courts of criminal justice complex, the State's bid to have the leniency of his punishment reviewed was upheld.
The assault in question arose after the victim knocked off Kiernan's garda hat. He was pursued and apprehended by gardai. Kiernan struck the victim a single punch, rendering him unconscious. Kiernan had an exemplary record in the force. The injured party has since received €19,000 in damages.
Chief Justice John Murray, sitting with Mr Justice Peter Charleton and Mr Justice Daniel O'Keeffe, held that as Kiernan had been on duty at the time of the assault, the seriousness of the circumstances "should have been marked" by a suspended sentence. The three-judge court imposed a six-month suspended sentence, to date back to February 2009.