Court hears garda ripped battery from protester's camera


A witness in the trial of a garda accused of assaulting a protester at the 2002 'Reclaim the Streets' march in Dublin has claimed that the battery of his video camera was ripped out by a garda.

 Mr Aidan O'Brien, who filmed the event on behalf of Indymedia, was giving evidence in the trial of Garda Paul Tallon of Mountjoy Station, Dublin who has pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm to Mr Fergal Leddy on May 6, 2002.

Mr O'Brien told defence counsel Mr Martin Giblin SC that he was approached by a garda who had a baton at his shoulder. He said the garda grabbed his camera and "we struggled for a moment" before he said the garda "ripped the battery from my camera."

Mr O'Brien said there was no structure to the way the event was filmed and that no one from Indymedia dictated who or what should be filmed on the day.

However he said that he later fell into an organisational role and the group began to work in a "more cohesive way" when they realised they had their hands on "important video footage."

Earlier, Mr Cian O'Callaghan, whose video footage has been shown to the jury by the prosecution, said that he had taken more footage on Dame Street where the assault is alleged to have taken place than he did on Burgh Quay.

Mr Breffni Gordon BL, defending, said that he did not wish to use the word "selective" but suggested that that "seems to be the way it panned out."

Mr O'Callaghan said that most of the time there wasn't much happening on Burgh Quay and that people were dancing and listening to the sound system. However he said that there was a "bit of tension" there involving a smoke bomb being placed in a car and that he saw a man on crutches being dragged away by gardai "with no regard for his condition."

The trial was adjourned for the afternoon after one of the jury members injured himself during the lunch break and was taken to hospital for treatment.

The trial is expected to resume again tommorow morning before Judge Yvonne Murphy.