February 12, 2014
Judge Keenan Johnson

Judge Keenan Johnson

A JURY has watched video footage of the night furniture, bottles and iron bars were chucked at Gardai during a two-hour house siege.

Two videos, recorded by Gardai on their mobile phones, were shown at Letterkenny Circuit Court at the trial of a man accused of a breach of the peace and causing criminal damage.

John Boyle (25) of 14 Leck Cottages, denies the charges in the case before Judge Keenan Johnson.

Two other men who were found hiding in the attic of the house have pleaded guilty to their part in the incident. One of them -Eddie McLaughlin – appeared as a defence witness in the case.

Thirteen people were arrested in the house after gardaí moved in following a two-hour stand-off at 72 Thornbury, Letterkenny, during the disturbance on October 13, 2011.

Garda reinforcements were sent from Ballybofey to help deal with the situation.

A 20-minute video of the incident – recorded by Garda Leanne Harraghy – was shown to the jury.

During the incident men hiding their faces with scarves or items of clothing could be seen throwing furniture and items from the house at Gardai dressed in riot gear below.

Hot liquid, an iron bar, bits of broken furniture and bottles were thrown from the house, it has been alleged.

In her evidence Garda Harraghy said that when she went to the scene around dawn on the date of the siege, items including an iron bar were thrown at her.

She also alleged she had been spat on from an upstairs window of the house.

On the video, men could be heard shouting ‘piggy b*******’ at officers. One of them had shouted ‘No Surrender’ over and over again whilst another voice could be heard demanding 20 Benson & Hedges cigarettes.

Someone also shouted ‘Keep er lit’.

Eventually gardai could be seen in the footage breaking down the front door and then had to remove a barrier made up of broken furniture.

McLaughlin, serving a prison sentence at Castlerea, told barrister Peter Nolan, acting for Mr Boyle, that it was he who had thrown items including a clothes horse at Gardai.

Asked why he was giving evidence for Mr Boyle, McLaughlin replied: “Because he was charged with something he never done.”

He said he didn’t remember seeing Mr Boyle involved in any acts of criminal damage during the siege.

Earlier a neighbour living next to the siege house told the court that she was unable to leave for her work at Letterkenny Hospital after Gardai had advised her it was too dangerous to leave the house.

The trial continues…..