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Friday 2 December 2016

Woman (32) claims she was pepper-sprayed as gardai seized her car

court

Sharon Joyce
Sharon Joyce

A WOMAN has claimed she was assaulted by gardai as they attempted to seize her car.

Sharon Joyce, who is suing the Commissioner of An Garda Siochana and the Minister for Justice for damages for defamation and assault, claimed she had been pepper-sprayed during the incident.

The claims have been denied by the defendants.

Ms Joyce, of Deerpark Avenue, Tallaght, Dublin, told Judge James O'Donohue in the Circuit Civil Court that on a Sunday morning in January last year she had been driving her brother, Christopher Joyce (17), to a football match when she was pulled over by the Garda Traffic Corps.

Barrister Conor Kearney, counsel for Ms Joyce, said that after conducting a vehicle registration search, Garda Dylan Brady and Garda Barry Cashman told her the car didn't belong to her and they were seizing it because the motor tax and NCT had expired for several months.

Ms Joyce told Mr Kearney she had tried to explain to them that she had recently bought the car from her brother, Raymond Joyce, and that it was still registered in his name but was in the process of being transferred.

Logbook

She told Judge O'Donohue that she accepted the tax and NCT had expired and the gardai had been entitled to seize her car. She said she had been waiting for the logbook to register the car at her own address.

Ms Joyce alleged she had been in her car pleading with the gardai not to seize it when Garda Cashman had reached into the car and had removed the key from the ignition.

The court heard that Ms Joyce had then called her brother's football manager who later came to the scene and picked up the teenager.

She alleged that she had been on the phone with her mother, Mary Joyce, when the gardai told her she was under arrest for a public order offence, saying "get out of the f***ing car, get out of the f***ing car, you're being arrested".

Sharon Joyce denied she had been abusive. She said Gda Brady had threatened to use his incapacity spray on her, and had later said "spray, spray, spray" before spraying the substance in her face.

She claimed she had then been dragged out of her car and handcuffed, before being put at the back of a garda jeep.

Barrister John Brennan, counsel for the defendants, said his clients denied liability. He told the court Ms Joyce had been abusive and aggressive towards the two gardai and she had used "choice" language.

Gda Brady said Ms Joyce had attempted to strike him while she was in her car, and had called them "f**king wankers and c**ts", shouting loudly as a passer-by walked nearby.

Judge O'Donohue reserved his judgment.

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