Garda awarded €15,000 for injury and stress after assault

Officer tells court of sustained attack when assailants ‘kept kicking and punching me’

Garda James Fenton: “They tore into me . . . a third man joined in the attack and a Pit Bull dog started biting and snapping at me.” File Photograph: The Irish Times

Garda James Fenton: “They tore into me . . . a third man joined in the attack and a Pit Bull dog started biting and snapping at me.” File Photograph: The Irish Times

 

A garda who suffered “months of stress and anxiety” after four men attacked him, and one threatened to kill him with an iron bar, was awarded €10,000 damages in a High Court Garda compensation hearing on Monday.

Mr Justice Michael Twomey also awarded Garda James Fenton €5,000 damages for soft tissue injuries he suffered to his upper body in the attack.

Bríd O’Flaherty BL, for the garda, told the court he had gone to a house at Lemybrien, Co Waterford, in May 2011 where a man had been threatening people with a knife.

Garda Fenton said he answered a 999 call alone after two women had called for help and he met them “in considerable stress” on a roadway at about 5am.

He left the two women in the safety of the unmarked Garda car and walked towards a house. Two men approached him and told him to “f**k off, you have no warrant.”

Murderous intent

“They tore into me . . . a third man joined in the attack and a Pit Bull dog started biting and snapping at me,” he said.

Garda Fenton said he was overpowered despite striking two of them with his official baton. While he was down one of them had taken an iron bar and told him they were going to kill him.

“I believed them,” he said. “And they kept kicking and punching me.” Garda Fenton pepper sprayed the man with the iron bar who threw it at him, narrowly missing the officer. He repeatedly pressed the emergency button on his radio and the men ran off as Garda reinforcements arrived. He arrested all four.

Needed counselling

Garda Fenton told the court he sustained injuries to his right collar bone region, nose and right elbow. Afterwards he developed post traumatic stress disorder and required counselling.

Garda Fenton said he had been working in the detective unit, but had since transferred to the traffic corps. Recently he had passed his exams for promotion to sergeant.

The judge said the men had threatened to kill Garda Fenton and he had been in fear of his life. Awarding €15,000 the judge said Garda Fenton had broadly recovered from his injuries.