Tuesday 24 April 2018

Watchdog's probe led to first conviction

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

At 2.30am on January 29, 2010, Anthony Holness was "caught short" while walking home from a night out in Waterford city.

The 38-year-old had consumed eight pints earlier in the night. He was relieving himself against a wall on New Street when he was approached by Gda Daniel Hickey and a student garda who were on patrol at 2.30am.

Mr Holness, who lives in Belvedere Drive on Paddy Browne's Road in Waterford, later admitted to being drunk, urinating in a public place and resisting arrest.

But he wasn't prepared for Gda Hickey's reaction to his behaviour on the night.

Mr Holness was bundled to the ground after Gda Hickey deployed a canister of pepper spray. He was then punched in the head while he lay face down on the street.

Shortly afterwards, Sgt Alan Kissane and Sgt Martha McEnery arrived at the scene. Gda McEnery struck Mr Holness as he lay on the ground a number of times.

Meanwhile, camera number 19, which is positioned on the corner of John Street and New Street, was capturing footage of what was happening. Gda John Burke was operating the CCTV system in the control room of the garda station.

However, at "crucial times" during the assault, the camera was turned away from the incident for a number of seconds so Mr Holness was out of the picture. The camera remains static unless it is moved by the operator.

After Mr Holness was arrested on the night, he was taken to Waterford garda station in a van. He was released from custody at around 7am the next day.

Mr Holness complained to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) about his treatment and CCTV from camera 19 was reviewed. The events led to the first ever conviction by a jury following an investigation by the GSOC.

Irish Independent

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