Garda ‘rugby tackled’ by other gardaí after querying taxi fare
Oliver Cully (55) sues State over alleged incident in which he was handcuffed
Garda Oliver Cully (55) claims he was assaulted, unlawfully arrested, falsely imprisoned and maliciously prosecuted as a result of an incident over a taxi fare in Dublin in the early hours of April 24th, 2004. Photograph: Courts Collins.
A garda has told a High Court jury that, while he was off duty, he was rugby tackled to the ground by other gardaí, handcuffed and arrested after querying the price of a taxi home.
Garda Oliver Cully (55), a member of the force for more than 30 years who works on protection duty at Áras an Uachtaráin, has sued the State over the alleged incident in 2004.
In evidence, he told the court he was left sitting on a Dublin street handcuffed until a Garda van came to take him to a station.
He felt “totally embarrassed” to be sitting in handcuffs on the street opposite a pub which is a “garda haunt”.
He said he had queried a €35 fare sought for a taxi to Lucan in the early hours of the morning after he had left a Dublin city nightclub.
Ten months later, he did the same journey by taxi for a fare of just over €20, he said.
In his civil action, which opened on Wednesday before Mr Justice Colm Mac Eochaidh, he claims he was assaulted, unlawfully arrested, falsely imprisoned and maliciously prosecuted as a result of the incident over the taxi fare in the early hours of April 24th, 2004.
He is also claiming he was subjected to emotional suffering.
The State defendants have denied all the claims and contend Garda Cully was lawfully arrested and everything was done properly and within the law.
The jury was told Garda Cully was found not guilty in the District Court on all charges relating to the incident, including breach of the peace and resisting a garda.
A Garda disciplinary investigation stopped after six months.
In evidence, Garda Cully said he had met a garda friend on the night in question and they went to a nightclub on Harcourt Street, Dublin.
When they came out of the club at about 3am, they went their separate ways to get home, he said.
He said he walked to Camden Street and managed to hail a taxi at 3.45am.
He said he got into the front of the taxi and the driver said it would be “at least €35” to Lucan.
Illegal to overcharge
Garda Cully said he was aware it was illegal to overcharge and he told the taxi driver he would pay what was on the meter.
He said the driver told him to get out, but then drove on and stopped after 100 metres and called over two uniformed gardaí.
He said he told a male garda he just wanted to get home and the driver was trying to overcharge.
He said the garda told him to “get the fuck out of the car” while a female garda spoke to the taxi driver.
He said he wanted the gardaí to report the taxi driver to the Carriage Office but was told to get out of the car or he would be arrested.
Asked by his counsel, Martin Giblin SC, whether he was drunk, Garda Cully said he was not and he did not say anything abusive to the gardaí in attendance.
The court heard Garda Cully had had about seven pints from early in the night to the early hours.
Garda Cully said other gardaí arrived, one of whom told him he was “ a big fucking ape”.
‘I heard somebody running’
He said he walked away with the intention of getting another taxi.
“After 25 paces I heard somebody running . My legs were taken from under me in a rugby tackle. My face hit the ground first. They were trying to get my arms behind my back. They were kneeling on my back,” he said.
He said the taxi driver also got involved and jammed his leg against his arm.
There were other gardaí who did not get involved, he said.
“I was shocked by what happened.” he said.
The case continues on Thursday.