Judge 'appalled' at video footage

Tue, Jul 10, 2012, 01:00

A JUDGE has thrown out a public order charge against a 21-year-old man who said his arm was broken in the course of his arrest outside a Limerick city pub last year.

Judge Eugene O’Kelly said he was “appalled” at video footage he had seen of the incident, which showed Garda Niall O’Connor “make a lunge” at Gary Daly and “drag him in a violent manner to the squad car” after the accused started recording the arrest of his friend on his phone.

Gardai said their decision to apprehend Mr Daly - of Shannonvale, Old Cratloe Road - had “nothing whatsoever” to do with the fact he had started shooting the video.

Recording a video was “not an offence”, said Judge O’Kelly.

Mr Daly denied failing to comply with Garda directions outside Molly’s Bar on Ellen Street shortly before 1am last July 28.

Garda Paul Bentley told Limerick District Court he and Garda O’Connor had responded to a call from security staff that four males were creating a disturbance having been refused entry. He had instructed Gary Daly to leave the area “at least four times” but, under cross-examination by solicitor Jerry Twomey, conceded the men had been told to leave the area collectively rather than individually. Mr Daly had been abusive and drunk on the night, Garda Bentley said.

Garda O’Connor also insisted the four men had been told to leave the area “on numerous occasions”. Two had done so while the others - Gary Daly and Gareth Howard - had remained, Garda O’Connor said.

Mr Twomey made his laptop available to the judge and the prosecution to view footage he had secured from the pub and this told a tale that was “at odds” with the evidence of gardaí.

It showed that Garda Bentley had “no interaction whatsoever” with Mr Daly prior to his arrest. And it demonstrated that Garda O’Connor spoke to the doormen for a minute and a half after arriving at the scene. Addressing Garda O’Connor, Mr Twomey said; “it shows that you then went to my client; asked him for ID, which he produced as the footage shows; and then 30 seconds later, you push him - violently . . . and when my client did something small like take video footage, you broke his arm, although I accept probably not deliberately,” Mr Twomey said.

Judge O’Kelly said he had “no hesitation” in accepting Mr Twomey’s application to dismiss the charge.