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Soldier cleared of garda 'razor attack' at party

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Naoise O’Conarain (22) leaving court yesterday

Naoise O’Conarain (22) leaving court yesterday

Naoise O’Conarain (22) leaving court yesterday

A YOUNG Dublin soldier has been found not guilty of assaulting two gardai at his 21st after-party in his home last year.

Naoise O'Conarain (22) was cleared at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court of assaulting officers Andrew Quinn and Fiachra Molloy causing them harm at his home in Redwood Lawn, Kilnamanagh on March 10, 2013.

The jury of four women and eight men took one hour and 47 minutes to acquit him of both charges.

domestic

Judge Patrick McCartan directed the jury to find the accused not guilty of assaulting three more gardai due to lack of evidence.

The judge thanked the jury for their time and excused them from further service. He told Mr O'Conarain he was free to go.

Officers Quinn and Molloy gave evidence during the trial that Mr O'Conarain attacked them in the bathroom of his home after a response to a domestic disturbance emergency call.

Gda Molloy said the soldier, who is based at Cathal Brugha Barracks in Rathmines, punched him in the face during a first incident in the bathroom.

Gda Quinn told the court he received up to 30 stitches to his lip after a second bathroom struggle, during which it was alleged Mr O'Conarain cut him with a disposable razor.

Mr O'Conarain's mother, Olga Howlett, told the court gardai had used "uncalled-for" language and beat her son.

She said she had been in bed at around midnight after leaving her son's 21st birthday party at the local GAA club.

She said she got up later when she heard banging and then saw Mr O'Conarain and another son, Fionn, having an argument.

When asked by Michael O'Higgins SC if the gardai who showed up had behaved respectfully, Ms Howlett replied: "Absolutely not. Children were pepper-sprayed in my home.

"There was language that was uncalled for. My son was being beaten in the bathroom."

Keith Henry, a family friend, also gave evidence that the officers could have "handled the situation a lot better".

Gda Molloy told Cathleen Noctor BL, prosecuting, that he and Gda Ross Foy arrived at the home in response to a 999 call.

He told the court he encountered Mr O'Conarain in the bathroom in an agitated state.

SCRATCH

He said he tried to separate Mr O'Conarain from fighting with his brother. He used his pepper spray after Mr O'Conarain punched him a second time.

Gda Molloy said he called for back-up after his colleague, Gda Foy, pulled him out of the bathroom by his stab vest.

The officer and Gda Kevin Keane testified that they saw Mr O'Conarain scratch another colleague, Gda Quinn, with a disposable razor during a struggle in the bathroom, which had ended up splattered with blood.

Gda Molloy denied he had "over-egged" his injuries when Michael O'Higgins SC, defending, put a report to him suggesting he suffered a sore thumb.

hnews@herald.ie


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