Former garda feared for life in assault by ‘semi-naked man’
58-year-old retired garda awarded €80,000 compensation in High Court
Retired garda Michael Power pictured leaving the Four Courts after he was awarded damages following a High Court Garda Compensation hearing. Photograph: Courts Collins
A 58-year-old retired garda, who feared for his life when assaulted and dragged towards a river by an “enormous semi-naked” man, has been awarded €80,000 compensation in the High Court.
Ms Justice Carmel Stewart said during a Garda compensation hearing that former garda Michael Power had been left with physical and psychological injuries following the assault in Cahir, Co Tipperary, on August 30th, 2002.
Mr Power had told the court that he had been patrolling Cahir in a Garda car with colleague Garda Tom Kelly that night when they received a call about a semi-naked man acting violently in the town. The court heard the man had damaged vehicles by putting his fists through car windows.
Mr Power, of Mitchelstown Road, Cahir, told his barrister Maurice Dockrell that he and Garda Kelly, after having found the damage done to vehicles, eventually came across the man, who was wearing only boxer shorts.
He said the man, who was “dripping wet from head to toes”, smiled at them and dropped his boxer shorts, exposing his genitalia. Garda Kelly had ordered him to pull up his shorts.
When the two gardaí went to arrest the man he started to throw punches at Garda Kelly.
Garda Kelly, in defending himself, had tackled the man, who was 6ft 5 in and “weighed 19 stones of pure muscle,” pulling him to the ground.
Mr Power, a karate expert who had been involved in martial arts competitions for more than 20 years, told Mr Dockrell that he went to assist Garda Kelly, but had difficulty in controlling what he described as the enormous man.
The judge was told that the man had managed to grab Mr Power by the head and carried him “like a dishcloth” over his shoulder, before throwing him to the ground and dragging him by his right leg towards a nearby river.
Mr Power said it took two more gardaí who had arrived on the scene to restrain and handcuff the man, who was not identified in court. The court was also not told about what action gardaí ultimately took against the man concerned.
Mr Dockrell said his client had suffered a soft-tissue injury to his lower back which had required several months off work. He had later developed post-traumatic stress disorder.
Mr Power said he had lost confidence after the incident and his quality of life had only improved when he retired six years ago. He had to give up karate.
Judge Stewart awarded Mr Power €60,000 for pain and suffering, €13,554 for loss of earnings, and €6,504 for fees and expenses, a total of €80,058.