Garda acquitted of assault at High Court to block internal disciplinary inquiry


A garda acquitted by a court of assaulting a prisoner has launched a High Court challenge aimed at preventing an internal Garda disciplinary inquiry into the same incident.

Garda Thomas McKenna was acquitted in April 2013 at Waterford Circuit Court of assaulting Bartlomej Skwiru at Waterford Garda station on June 19th-20th 2010. Mr Skwiru was in custody at the time.

The garda was convicted at Waterford District Court in 2011 of assault causing harm to Mr Skwiru, a native of Poland. Mr McKenna, originally from Cork, successfully appealed that conviction.

Yesterday at the High Court Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told that then Mr McKenna thought the matter was over. But the Garda Commissioner has brought disciplinary procedures against Mr McKenna.

Suspended from work

Counsel said after the Circuit Court’s decision to acquit, Mr McKenna was told by GSOC the matter was over and he would be “getting his uniform back.”

He was later told the Commissioner intended to bring new Garda disciplinary proceedings. The incident at Waterford Garda station had been investigated by the Garda Ombudsman Commission.

The High Court judge granted Mr McKenna permission to bring his challenge against the Garda Commissioner. This was on an ex-parte (one side only) basis. The judge, who placed a stay on the disciplinary hearings pending the outcome, adjourned the matter to October.