Sergeant's €25k award for headbutt snoring woe

Sgt Noel McSweeney Photo: Collins Courts

Ray Managh

A garda sergeant who had to move into the spare room at home because of his snoring has been awarded €25,500 in damages in the High Court for a headbutt injury to his nose.

Sgt Noel McSweeney, who suffered the injury while on duty, told a garda compensation hearing that his snoring affected his wife more than it did him and he had to move into the spare room "on a couple of occasions".

Barrister Ellen Gleeson told Mr Justice Michael Twomey that Sgt McSweeney, of Enn- iscorthy Garda Station, had been engaged in a search for a missing woman in May 2012 when the incident happened.


Sgt McSweeney told Ms Gleeson that the woman had been found extremely intoxicated and aggressive in a car, in which there had been drugs, and she had been taken into custody.

"She jumped back and threw her head backwards, hitting me in the nose and upper teeth," Sgt McSweeney said.

He said he had fractures to four of his upper front teeth and the line of his nose had been knocked slightly off. He suffered a deviated septum, which had resulted in a restriction of the airflow through his nose.

"The appearance of my nose wasn't upsetting to me so I decided not to have surgery correcting it. Perhaps if I was a model it would be different," he added.

Sgt McSweeney said he had been reviewed six months after the incident and had told his doctor about his snoring problem.

"I wasn't aware of it, but I did have to sleep in the spare room on a couple of occasions," he said.

Sgt McSweeney told William Maher, counsel for the State, that he had only slight discomfort with the airflow in his nose.

Judge Twomey said the Book of Quantum suggested damages of €7,500 for minor dental damage.

He said he would add to this €18,000 compensation for the injury to Sgt McSweeney's nose.

He awarded total damages of €25,500 and costs against the State.