Shuffling some words around…

Here’s a slight re-ordering/re-wording of the bottom-of-the-page story that appears of page 4 (the In The Courts page) of this morning’s Irish Times

‘Judge compares incident with Garda to infamous US beating’

A JUDGE has compared an incident between a Garda and a member of the public to the Rodney King beating in Los Angeles.

Garda Curtis (23) of Ardee, Co Louth, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault and assault causing harm to John Paul Maughan (19) on Alexandria Road in the Dublin Docks on July 11th, 2009.

Referring to the CCTV recording of the incident, Judge McDonagh said: “On first viewing one is reminded of the Rodney King beating.”

“Self control was sadly lacking”, he told the court in the absence of the jury. “This to me is a case of a single garda overreacting.”

He also questioned why gardaí decided to smash the car’s windows instead of waiting for Mr Maughan and his accomplice to get out when Mr Maughan was clearly not going to escape after the stolen vehicle crashed.

During the five-day trial, the jury heard from several Garda witnesses that Garda Curtis had used justified force.

Referring to other gardaí who gave evidence, Judge McDonagh said: “I do not believe his colleagues bathed themselves in glory either. Too much of the evidence in this trial was clearly partisan.”

On Tuesday the jury was shown footage of the moment when the car crashed and Mr Maughan was dragged out. Some 15 gardaí arrived on the scene and a garda could be seen striking the suspect with his baton.

Several gardaí gave evidence that Mr Maughan was kicking out violently during the arrest.

Garda Gerard Curtis was found not guilty by direction of Judge Donagh McDonagh after he ruled that the prosecution failed to disprove the garda was acting in self-defence when he hit the suspect with his baton after a car chase.

And so it ends. We’ll probably never know if the Garda was/is disciplined, moved, re-trained, questioned internally… An Garda is a black hole of information.

Like some other organisations…

Previous posts on An Garda on this site:

OECD/Transparency International report on Ireland

New details relating to the Terence Wheelock case

Deaths in Garda custody

FOI and An Garda: And again, I quote from that link…

All that is needed for An Garda Síochána to come under FOI is the signature of Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, and some regulations to be implemented. Then we can take our place among such nations as Moldova, Georgia and Azerbaijan as a country that allows citizens to request information from their police force. The Gardai must be brought under FOI as a matter of urgency.