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John O'Keeffe: A brave garda chases down two joyriders on drink or drugs causing mayhem on our streets. He deserves a medal. He gets flung in the dock on the word of wrongdoers

If you are curious to know whose side the law is truly on in Ireland, please read on.

In the red corner stands a serving member of An Garda Siochana.

He is said by his superiors to have an "unblemished record", is a "diligent Garda" and is described by a number of people as a "gentleman".

A retired superintendent has feted him in poetic terms as "a safe pair of hands, a good and committed officer and one I had great belief and trust in".

In the blue corner shuffle a group of joyriders who are "out of their minds" on alcohol and/or drugs while driving a car towards the Port Tunnel in Dublin in such a way that it was described in court as "a bomb en route".

On arrest they behave like beasts in the field, shouting obscenities and making threats to the arresting gardai.

Who would you believe? To even ask such a question seems laughable.

To imagine then that the same garda, so glowingly described above, could be prosecuted by the DPP in circumstances where he and his colleagues were under the gravest of danger due to intoxicated savages, simply beggars belief.

Yet that is exactly what has happened.

Garda Thomas Hughes (29) was dragged to court to answer charges that he had assaulted two joyriding thieves who themselves admitted they were "out of their minds".

Luckily, sense prevailed and the case against Garda Thomas Hughes was dismissed after a judge said she was not satisfied that he had been properly identified as having committed the assaults.

One of the joyriders alleged that gardai had "bounced his head" off a car bonnet and the "cage" of the garda van while proudly boasting that he was "locked" on vodka, sambuca, wine and beer.

Another accomplice said he was beaten with batons and kicked during the arrest but also admitted that he had taken cocaine, tablets, hash and alcohol on the night.

And you thought a flute was simply a melodic wind instrument.


This type of savagery is repeated every other night up and down the cities, towns, and villages of this country and the only people that are standing between our civilisation and the criminal abyss are men like Garda Hughes and his colleagues.

We should be down on our knees thanking them and awarding them medals for bravery, yet all they ask us for is our respect, and our society responds by prosecuting good people like Garda Hughes at the behest of a couple of functionally illiterate gougers.

It would be funny were it not so utterly pathetic.

Just what is going on at the DPP's office?

What sorts of people are making these Montessori decisions to prosecute gardai acting in the course of their duty because a couple of barbarians decide to lodge a "complaint" on the back of febrile legal advice?

Has the bleeding heart culture now managed to even infect the State's prosecuting arm so that they can no longer see where charges firmly need to lie?

More importantly, what sanction will now follow in the DPP's office, one wonders, for such a decision?

I wouldn't hold my breath.

It will come as no surprise to anyone to note that the two individuals who claimed that Garda Hughes had assaulted them were not present when the trial ended. Why?

Because they had to return to Cloverhill prison as both were in custody on remand on unrelated charges.

Garda Hughes and his colleagues, on the other hand, are back out on the streets, protecting our way of life from the very people who would drag us down to their own vermin-infested pits. Yet the gardai would now be forgiven for imagining that they have yet another foe to deal with -- the DPP's office.

Shame on us all.

John O'Keeffe is a Criminologist and Law Lecturer.