herald

Saturday 19 January 2019

'Garda was hitting man with baton' trial hears

A GARDA "whipped" and "pounded" a man with his baton while he was on the ground, it has been alleged at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

The court heard the alleged victim died later that day but that the prosecution accepted this was due to a drug overdose and unrelated to the garda's actions.

Garda Brendan Whitty (33), stationed at Kevin Street Garda Station, has pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm to the late Keith Murphy on Thomas Street, Dublin 2, on September 20, 2007.

The trial heard from several witnesses who were on Thomas Street at the time. One man claimed Garda Whitty was doing what was necessary to "control the situation" and arrest Mr Murphy.





Struck

Another witness claimed the garda was "whipping" Mr Murphy with his baton as he lay on the ground shouting, "I didn't do anything."

Opening the case for the prosecution, barrister Shane Costelloe told the jury that Garda Whitty used his ASP extendable baton while attempting to arrest Mr Murphy. He said he struck him a number of times before other gardai arrived and took Mr Murphy away.

Mr Murphy was charged with a public order offence and released soon after. Mr Costelloe said that later that evening, Mr Murphy was found in a comatose state and brought to hospital where he died a short time.

Richard O'Callaghan told Mr Costelloe that he was on the street when he saw a "gentleman assaulting another gentleman".

He said he saw a garda "beating the shit out of the young lad" who was on the ground. Mr O'Callaghan said the man was trying to get up and shouting, "I didn't do anything", while the garda was "pounding down on top of him".

Defence counsel Hugh Hartnett asked Mr O'Callaghan if he had an "issue with gardai" and if he had any previous convictions.

Mr O'Callaghan admitted he had convictions but that they were from "the last century".





Shouting

When asked how his memory is, the witness replied that it was "not that good" but that he could remember things when reminded of them.

Elizabeth McCabe said she was waiting at a bus stop when she saw a garda interacting with two men. She said the garda gestured for one man to move away and when he refused, the garda tried to arrest him.

She said the garda got a handcuff on one of the man's wrists and was shouting at him to get down. She said he could not get down quick enough so the garda started to hit him about the legs with a baton.

"He was trying to knock him down, take the legs from under him," she told Mr Costelloe.

She said he was hit about five or six times before the garda called for back-up.

The trial continues.

hnews@herald.ie

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