herald

Thursday 23 January 2020

RTE man 'swore at baton strike garda', court told

Garda Sean Lucey
Garda Sean Lucey

An RTE cameraman called a garda a "f**king animal" after the officer struck him in the groin with a baton, a court has heard.

Colm Hand told the trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that he suffered bruising.

Mr Hand said he had taken up a position near a garda public order unit during anti- racism street protests because he believed he was safe there.

Gda Sean Lucey was detailed to one of these units during a confrontation between anti- racism protesters and gardai who were trying to prevent them from getting to supporters of an "anti-Islamisation" group.

Experienced

Gda Lucey (42) has pleaded not guilty to one count of assault causing harm to Mr Hand at Cathedral Street, Dublin, on February 6, 2016, and to damag- ing his camera.

Gda Lucey, who has an add-ress in south Dublin, has been stationed at Crumlin Village and Sundrive Road stations.

Mr Hand told the court he was working with reporter Colman O'Sullivan.

Under cross-examination, he agreed with James Dwyer, defending, that he was experienced in covering public order protests. He said he withdrew "at the first available opportunity".

He said that when his camera was struck, he turned to face gardai and told them: "You can't hit cameras."

Mr Dwyer put it to him that he was pointed at by gardai and told to move back and he stayed where he was.

Colm Hand
Colm Hand

He agreed he said the words "you f**king animal" "when Garda Lucey hit me full force in the groin".

Mr O'Sullivan told the trial that some gardai had drawn batons to stop protesters.

"I said to gardai, 'We're press and we're getting out of your way'," he said.

"A garda advanced out of line and hit Colm's camera. I was very close to Colm. The baton hit the camera quite close to my head."

He said he immediately pulled the cameraman away.

Mr Hand turned around to face the line of gardai and said: "Don't hit the f**king camera, you can't hit cameras."

He said the garda who had struck the camera then struck Mr Hand in the groin area.

"He was in advance of his colleagues and he came forward to strike Colm," he said.

He said Mr Hand said he was hurt and they left the area.

Under cross-examination, Mr O'Sullivan said he and Mr Hand discussed the potential for conflict in advance of the job.

The trial continues.

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