Garda assault trial delayed as DPP refuses to give list of witnesses

Officer is accused of attacking a man in Dublin city centre in 2012

The entrance to Pearse Street Garda station in Dublin city centre. File Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

The trial of a garda, who denies attacking a man in Dublin city centre in 2012, has been delayed after the DPP refused to divulge a list of prosecution witnesses.

Gda Donal O’Neill, who is based at Pearse Street Garda station is accused of assaulting a named man on Pearse Street on December 16th, 2012, a charge he denies.

He is being prosecuted by the DPP following an investigation by the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission. His two-day non-jury trial at Dublin District Court was due to begin on Tuesday but was adjourned until April.

Defence counsel Breffni Gordon told Judge Bryan Smyth the DPP's office had breached their own guidelines in relation to disclosure of evidence.

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Counsel said they had said in a letter that they were not willing or obliged to furnish a list of witnesses or exhibits that will be relied on during the hearing.

Mr Gordon said the defence had no idea what witnesses the prosecution had and was entitled to know.

He also said there were five Garda witnesses but the the defence had been informed that the State do not intend to call them to give evidence. These witnesses were not in court or available for cross-examination, said Mr Gordon.

He also argued that the prosecution was "not entitled to cherry-pick" and said that an application could be made to the High Court seeking leave for a judicial review to prohibit the trial.

Following a recess, the prosecution lawyers told Judge Smyth that a list of the witnesses they intended to call will be furnished to the defence. The five Garda witnesses will also be made available for cross-examination.

Judge Smyth ordered that the case would be listed again for mention in two weeks and he reserved two days in April for the trial.

Video evidence is also to be used in the hearing.

No evidence relating to the allegation has been given so far in the proceedings.

The assault charge is a summary offence which on conviction can result in a possible fine and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months.