Garda awarded €38,500 over injuries sustained in gang assault
High Court hears victim saved a dislodged tooth by pushing it back up into his gum
Detective Garda Brian Dunne pictured leaving the Four Courts after he was awarded damages. Photograph: Collins Courts
A garda who was knocked out in an attack by a gang of men saved a dislodged tooth by pushing it back up into his gum after he recovered consciousness, the High Court has heard.
Detective Garda Brian Dunne told Mr Justice Tony O’Connor he would never forget the pain of pushing his upper right front tooth back into its gum socket and said he had been told afterwards by a dental expert that this had been the right thing to do.
The Garda compensation hearing was told that just before Christmas 2006 the then uniformed community garda attached to Ballymun Garda station had been set upon by a gang of six young men.
Mr Justice O’Connor said they could only be described as “thugs” who had mounted a savage attack on Garda Dunne. He heard how the garda was punched and knocked to the ground and had a bottle smashed into his face. He was kicked repeatedly in the head and body until he lost consciousness.
Detective Garda Dunne said colleagues who later arrived at the scene had taken him to the Garda station before he was been transferred to the Mater Hospital by ambulance to be treated for his wounds.
“I suffered a very bad gash to my mouth and to the back of my head and I learned that some of my teeth had been pushed backwards,” he said. “At the scene when I recovered I had pushed a dislodged front tooth back into my gum. Another one of my teeth had been broken.”
He told the court he had to receive four stitches to one side of his mouth and five to the other side. On the inside of his mouth, he had 14 stitches inserted. The gash on the back of his head had been brought together with glue.
Det Garda Dunne said his teeth had been very painful and he had to undergo root canal work on one of them. His body was bruised and he had a shoulder injury. Following treatment, his teeth had been kept under review for five years and the dislodged tooth had never fully come back into line.
He said he had been out of work for about six weeks but had been due for promotion to detective at the time and had gone back to work “probably too early.”
Det Garda Dunne told barrister Joseph O’Sullivan, counsel for the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, that he had returned to full duties at the time and three months after the incident had returned to playing football for his local club.
He said his shoulder injury would still niggle him while playing football.
Awarding Det Garda Dunne €38,500 compensation, Mr Justice O’Connor said he had suffered significant injuries and had been left with a noticeable scar at the side of his mouth.