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Anti-drug activist's son jailed for attack on garda

THE son of an anti-drugs activist who punched a garda in the face when he tried to carry out a roadside search has been jailed for four months.

Wayne Mulhall (23) was sentenced after a court heard the backdrop to the case was a history of "bad feeling" between his family and the gardai going back to the north inner city anti-drugs marches of the 1990s.

Mulhall struck Garda Robert Rowe in the face and flew into a rage after the officer tried to search him for drugs near his home at Rutland Cottages.

Denying the assault, he had claimed gardai "strangled" and beat him before strip-searching him, jeering him and leaving him semi-naked in a cell.

Judge Dermot Dempsey said he fully accepted the garda's version of events and denial of ill-treatment of the accused.

Mulhall had pleaded not guilty to charges of assault, obstruction, breach of the peace and violent behaviour in a garda station.

Clenched

Dublin District Court heard Garda Rowe was on mountain bike duty alone at Rutland Street Lower on December 7, 2008, when he saw Mulhall exit a car that he had been sitting in with another man.

Suspecting a drugs transaction, he told the accused he was searching him. Mulhall emptied his pockets at the garda's requests but his fists were tightly clenched and he struck Garda Roe in the face.

Mulhall continued to try to strike Garda Rowe in the ensuing struggle and members of the public, including Mulhall family members, began to surround them, shouting abuse in what was a "hostile environment".

The officer had to radio for assistance and the accused continued to lash out. He headbutted the "cage" inside the garda van and tried to strike gardai when the handcuffs were removed in Mountjoy Garda Station. He also called one garda's mother a "prostitute".

Mulhall's barrister said the accused's father, James Mulhall, was an anti-drugs activist in the area and there was "some acrimony" between them and gardai.

hnews@herald.ie


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