Man bit Garda after mistaking patrol car for taxi

October 12, 2020

A BUNCRANA man bit a Garda after attempting to get into the driver’s seat of a patrol car, which he believed to be a taxi.

Liam Durcan (22) of Ard na Greine Buncrana was before Buncrana District Court on charges relating to an incident on March 3, 2019.

Gardaí were on patrol when the received a report of an incident at 3.10am in Buncrana.

A large number of people were present after coming out of a nightclub.

A wheelie bin was lying on the footpath and its contents scattered.

Gardaí were dealing with this incident when they observed Durcan open the driver’s door of the patrol car and attempt to get in.

When Garda Maguire approached, Durcan resisted arrest. Sergeant Jim Collins told the court that Durcan had his hands around Garda Leahy.

A large crowd had gathered around as Gardaí radioed for assistance.

Garda Giles and Garda Hooks arrived and handcuffed Durcan. During the course of the incident, Durcan bit Garda Giles on the left arm, causing bruising.

“The bite didn’t break the skin, but it went through the fleece top and marked the skin,” Sergeant Collins said.

Defence solicitor Mr Frank Dorrian said Durcan had been out celebrating a friend’s 21st and was waiting for a lift home.

“He opened the Garda car thinking that it was a taxi,” Mr Dorrian said.

“Persons other than he engaged in the care-on which drew the attention of the Gardaí to the scene originally. His renitence when he is forcibly restrained is matched by ever-increasing superior force by the Gardai. His resistance was doomed to fail.

“If he has bitten, it was collateral in the attempt to restrain him and he was undoubtedly in a headlock. It developed in the course of the struggle. It happened fairly quickly and a chain reaction gave rise to events.”

Durcan was accompanied by his mother in court and Mr Dorrian said that ‘a lame effort at humour brings him to this more serious venue’.

Durcan’s guilty plea, Mr Dorrian said, was based on the ‘overall impression left that he shouldn’t have engaged in this carry-on, humorous or otherwise’.

“It wasn’t malicious of violent,” Mr Dorrian said, adding that Durcan had not drank since the incident.

“Biting someone on the arm is quite deliberate,” Judge Paul Kelly said.

“The Gardaí tried to deal with it in a graduated manner. When they are met with resistance, their own use of force increases.”

Mr Dorrian said that the reaction from his client, a trainee electrician, was one of ‘panic’.

“Biting happens in close quarters such as this,” he said. “It wasn’t premeditated and it happened in the course of events. He is apologetic.”

Judge Kelly said that if Durcan made a €500 donation to the Garda Benevolent Fund he would apply the probation act.



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