A Garda sergeant, who was seen assaulting a member of the Traveller community, was not prosecuted or disciplined over the incident, it has emerged.
The victim of the alleged assault was at the time suspected of raping a woman a few days earlier. Despite a complaint from the woman and supporting evidence, this man was never charged with the rape offence.
Members of An Garda Síochána familiar with the incident believe the alleged assault the man — known as Mr A — suffered at the hands of the garda, contributed to the failure to press charges over the alleged rape. The Irish Examiner has reported that the sergeant is now in line for promotion.
The alleged incident occurred in 2016 in Waterford. Mr A was being sought by gardaí after an earlier altercation. Three gardaí, including the sergeant, came upon Mr A in a service station forecourt and were planning to arrest him.
was seen to stamp on this male’s head twice with his feet and kick him into the face
Two other gardaí later arrived on the scene. According to one of the statements from a garda present at the scene, the sergeant went to Mr A’s car and kicked him a few times.
He then dragged him from the car, threw him on the ground, and was seen to “stamp on this male’s head twice with his feet and kick him into the face and stomach with his foot”.
The statement says the sergeant then punched Mr A in the head twice. Mr A was then arrested and taken to hospital. The sergeant is believed to have suffered a hand injury in the incident.
Another garda’s statement also tracked the build-up to the incident with Mr A sitting in the car in the forecourt. Then: “I observed (Sgt B) kick (Mr A) into the upper body as he was seated in the BMW. (Sgt B) removed (Mr A) from the vehicle, placing him on the ground and kicked him in the upper body.”
This statement went on to describe how, following that, Mr A was “resisting being arrested” by Sgt B and another garda. This version stated there was a struggle to subdue Mr A and one of the gardaí “subsequently deployed pepper spray in an attempt to subdue (Mr A)”.
Following this, Mr A was “restrained on the ground until the arrival of a patrol van”.
subsequently deployed pepper spray in an attempt to subdue (Mr A)
A female garda, who was among those on the scene, has been absent from work on stress-related leave since.
Gsoc investigated the incident but Mr A refused to make a complaint.
In 2019, the DPP ruled that no prosecution should be pursued. The matter was referred back to the Garda Commissioner for disciplinary action, but the Irish Examiner understands none was taken.
The sergeant, who was transferred but not suspended during the investigation, is reported to have returned to his former duties. He subsequently received expenses for the period during which he had been temporarily transferred.
A spokesperson for Gsoc said it does not comment on individual cases.