Garda denies charge of assaulting RTÉ cameraman

Incident alleged to have happened during clashes between far-right marchers and opponents in Dublin

Gardai confront protesters during an anti-racism march in Dublin in February 2016. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Gardai confront protesters during an anti-racism march in Dublin in February 2016. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

A garda has pleaded not guilty to assaulting an RTÉ cameraman who was filming a violent protest in Dublin.

The incident allegedly occurred when gardaí baton charged protesters who turned up in response to the launch of an Irish branch of far-right European anti-Islamic group Pegida.

Garda Sean Lucey, who is based at Crumlin Garda station in Dublin, is alleged to have assaulted Colm Hand, causing him harm, at the junction of O’Connell Street and Cathedral Street on February 6th, 2016. He is also accused of damaging Mr Hand’s camera.

The court had previously heard Mr Hand had attended hospital and suffered bruising to his groin.

Mr Lucey appeared before Judge Michael Walsh at Dublin District Court on Tuesday where he was served with a book of evidence and sent forward for trial.

A complaint was made through his employer to Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) which had successfully applied to the district court to issue a summons against Mr Lucey on charges of assault and criminal damage.

The case resumed on Tuesday when defence solicitor Liz Hughes said her client is pleading not guilty to both charges.

Legal aid

The State solicitor said the DPP consented to him being sent forward for trial to the next sittings of Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Mr Lucey was told he must inform the prosecution within 14 days if he intended to call alibi witnesses during his trial. The judge told him he will face his next hearing on October 27th when a trial date will be assigned.

Ms Hughes made an application for legal aid.

The judge held that given the complexity and serious nature of the case, legal aid should be granted.

At a previous hearing in July, the court heard violence broke out during a march by Pegida, which stands for Patriotic Europeans Against The Islamisisation of the West.

Clashes broke out when small groups of Pegida supporters were heading towards the GPO from surrounding streets. About 1,000 people turned out for a counter-demonstration .

A Garda Public Order Unit baton charged anti-Pegida demonstrators back to O’Connell Street.