Gardai forced to use pepper spray on guests at party
GARDAI were forced to pepper-spray guests at a birthday party when one of the officers was assaulted in a "standoff" that started because a reveller kicked their patrol car, a court heard.
The host, Aaron McCann (22) and guest Anthony Glover (32) were both found guilty of assaulting a garda when the incident in Clondalkin escalated into a hostile scene.
McCann threw a bottle at the garda, striking him under the arm, while Glover threw a full can of beer at the garda's leg, hitting him on the shin.
The incident started when Glover kicked a passing patrol car after attracting the officers' attention by whistling at them, waving and "doing a little dance" in front of them.
McCann was put on a one-year peace bond while a probation report was ordered on Glover.
Glover of Greenfort Avenue and McCann, of Greenfort Gardens, Clondalkin both pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting Garda Marcus Roantree in an incident outside McCann's home on November 7 last year.
McCann had also denied a charge of producing a bottle as a weapon in the course of a dispute.
Finding them guilty, Judge Brian Sheridan said it was "something of a freak event".
Garda William Skelly said he followed Glover into the garden of McCann's house after the older man kicked the patrol car. While there, he said, he was confronted by McCann, who pushed him, then picked up a bottle.
He threw the bottle and it hit Garda Roantree, who had also arrived.
Garda Roantree took out his pepper spray and shouted "spray, spray, spray" before using it on McCann. The court heard several other guests were inadvertently hit with the spray. McCann picked up the broken bottle and continued to advance, the garda said.
The gardai said several missiles were then thrown at them and that Glover threw a full can of beer, hitting Garda Roantree.
The officers retreated and Sgt Ciaran McGarty later went to the house to advise guests how to remove the pepper spray from their eyes.
Glover had admitted kicking the car, claiming one of the gardai "said something out the window". He denied making any gestures or "dancing like a monkey".
Defence Barrister John Berry said the gardai had characterised a scene like "something from Northern Ireland 15 years ago, an RUC van going through a Catholic area with missiles being thrown and bottles and cans exploding around them".