A garda sergeant injured during an incident at Letterkenny Garda station has been awarded more than €55,000 in compensation by the High Court.
The Irish Times reports that Niall Davey was injured while trying to prevent John McBrearty from attacking his father while they were both in Letterkenny Garda station on May 2nd, 2011.
Sgt Davey, now the detective sergeant in charge of the Sligo-Leitrim drugs unit, sued the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform for compensation.
The court heard John McBrearty had been arrested in a Lifford pub on public order charges following an altercation with the barman and was brought to Letterkenny station.
When his father arrived, John Mc Brearty started making allegations about his treatment in custody but the father was satisfied this was not the case, Sgt Davey told the court.
At that point, John McBrearty accused his father of “never believing him or supporting him in anything and a very physical altercation ensued”, he said.
Sgt Davey and the officer in charge of the station had to intervene and the sergeant told John McBrearty he had to go back to his cell.
A violent struggle followed with Sgt Davey being punched and dragged and at one point pushed up against a sanitary unit and against the valve on a radiator, he said. As he tried to get Mr McBrearty into his cell, the prisoner pulled him to the floor and bit him a number of times on the arm and torso, he said.
Sgt Davey later attended Letterkenny Hospital emergency department and his doctor. He was out of work for around two months afterwards and developed further pain in his shoulders. He was out of work for more than four months in 2012.
He said he had to give up hobbies like golfing and shooting because they were too painful and had only recently resumed playing golf. The simplest of tasks, like lifting his young daughter’s schoolbag, caused him pain and he now mainly performed managerial and supervisory duties in his job, he said.
He said he also suffered psychologically because of what the court heard was the history surrounding the gardaí and the McBrearty family.
Publican Frank McBrearty Snr was awarded substantial compensation in relation to his family’s treatment by gardaí during an investigation into the death of Richie Barron in Raphoe in 1996, events which led to the setting up of the Morris Tribunal.
Sgt Davey said some of the comments made during the incident were “quite pointed” and John McBrearty spoke of his “ability to bring issues to the fore”.
Due to the history surrounding the family, Sgt Davey said he was concerned his superiors did not believe him.
Mr Justice Bernard Barton said the sergeant “got quite a beating” and had suffered significant soft tissue injuries and he assessed compensation mainly on the basis of past suffering.
He awarded a total of €55,555, including €5,555 for loss of earnings. A loss of earnings claim, related to an application for €2,500 for loss of opportunity to work during the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to Ireland shortly after the incident, was reduced to €1,000.Tags: