herald

Monday 23 October 2017

Garda denies beating drunk car thief after high-speed city chase

A garda accused of "trying to kill" a suspect after a car chase through the city centre has gone on trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Garda Gerard Curtis (23), of Ardee, Co Louth, is said to have been part of a group of around 10 gardai who allegedly smashed the window of the stolen car, dragged the suspect through it and kicked and beat him with their batons.

The alleged victim also claimed gardai refused to take him to hospital at his request.

Garda Curtis, who is stationed at Store Street Garda Station, has pleaded not guilty to assault and assault causing harm to John Paul Maughan (19), on Alexandra Road, in the Dublin Docks, on July 11, 2009.

Mr Maughan told Maurice Coffey, prosecuting, that he had been "on a session" in the city centre before the incident. He said he had been drinking and taking pills, heroin and cocaine throughout the day.

He said he and his friend, Gary Henry, stole a set of car keys from a drunk man they met in the street. They got into the car and drove off before they "took a chase".

He described around 10 garda cars chasing them and said his friend was driving at full speed down the quays. They reached the docks and Mr Henry crashed the car after performing a handbrake turn to avoid going into the water.

Batons

Mr Maughan said gardai surrounded the car before the passenger window was smashed with a baton and he was pulled through. He said he told the gardai to relax and then put his arms so he could be handcuffed.

He claimed the group of gardai ignored him and started to hit him with their batons and kick him, leaving him with cuts and bruises over his body.

He said they then pulled him up and handcuffed him before kicking him again and putting him in a garda van. He said he could not identify any of his alleged attackers. He told Mr Coffey he was taken to Store Street Station. He said he asked to be taken to hospital but this was refused. A doctor was later called and his wounds were bandaged.

Mr Maughan denied, under cross-examination, that they had stolen the car keys at knife point. He told Breffni Gordon, defending, that during the chase the gardai "were trying to ram us, trying to kill us".

He said that during the assault the gardai were "treating us like dogs" and "trying to kill us".

He agreed with counsel that he had a "long list of convictions" and was currently in custody awaiting trial for a street mugging. He admitted to several of the offences put to him by Mr Gordon but denied ever being convicted for carrying a knife. "That's a load of bollox, you can burn that," he said.

The trial continues.

hnews@herald.ie

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