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Jail for dad who lied about 'heavy handed' gardai

A REPEAT offender who told a "blatant lie" to the Garda Ombudsman Commission, saying he was subjected to a "heavy handed" arrest, has been jailed for two months.

Paul Fitzpatrick (25) was found guilty of making a false complaint to the watchdog -- in what is believed to be one of the first convictions of its kind.

The father-of-one claimed he was struck several times by officers in the course of an arrest for public order offences after being stopped on suspicion of drunk driving in Ballymun.

Jailing him, Judge Ann Watkin said he had told a "total blatant lie" when he said he was not resisting arrest at the time gardai had to restrain him.

She said it could have cost gardai their jobs.



headbutt

Fitzpatrick, of Templeview Gardens, Northwood, Santry, who has 134 previous convictions, denied providing false information at Abbey Street on January 18, 2011.

Dublin District Court heard he was prosecuted for public order charges arising from the incident and himself made a complaint about his arrest to GSOC. The complaint was rejected and the case was then referred to the DPP.

The court heard that in his statement, the accused had said he did not resist arrest.

Garda Conor Garland said in evidence he was on duty in Ballymun on December 19, 2010 when he followed a Fiat Punto that was driven erratically at Sillogue Road.

It stopped at Coultry Aspect Apartments and he saw Fitzpatrick leave the driver's side. Fitzpatrick refused to stop and he pursued him inside.

Fitzpatrick, who appeared to be extremely intoxicated, punched him twice in the head and Garda Garland struck him in the leg with his baton. The accused attempted to headbutt him and spat at him. Three other people were there but did not become involved.

Garda Garland, for his own protection, took the defendant by the collar and walked him down the steps.

The accused fell back and kicked Garda Garland in the head as the garda opened the door to let a colleague in. He continued to kick out as he was arrested and brought to the garda van before being taken to Ballymun Garda Station.

Fitzpatrick has since pleaded guilty to breach of the peace and obstruction.

Barry Ward, defending, said: "It's clear that he received harsh treatment at the hands of the gardai, however justifiable."

Judge Watkin disagreed that there was clear harsh treatment.

Garda Garland had been in a "very dangerous situation" and was effectively assaulted, although there was no assault charge brought against the defendant, she said.

aphelan@herald.ie


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