Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Pair's evidence 'not credible'

Eoin Murtagh, one of four garda who have denied assaulting a teenager while his mother was held against her will

A teenager allegedly beaten by gardai in his bed as his mother was locked in a bedroom cannot be believed, a court has heard.

Defence barristers claimed Owen Gaffney, now 21, had a history of resisting arrest and had once broken a gardai's jaw and questioned the accuracy of evidence given by him and his mother Fidelma.

Gardai Alan Conlon, Claire Delaney, Eoin Murtagh and Sean O'Leary are on trial accused of assault causing harm to Mr Gaffney, forcible entry and trespass at the family home in inner city Dublin on February 17, 2008. Conlon, Delaney and Murtagh are also charged with the false imprisonment of Ms Gaffney in a bathroom of her Basin Street flat.

They have pleaded not guilty to each of the charges.

Closing the case for the prosecution at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court Patrick McGrath, junior counsel, told the jury they had seen photographs of Mr Gaffney's injuries and blood all over his face and bedroom.

"This is only consistent with a punishment beating," said Mr McGrath. "There was not a scratch on any of the gardai. The only conclusion that is open to you is that unfortunately these four accused were part of a joint enterprise to go in to this house without any lawful excuse to give Owen Gaffney a punishment beating," he added.

But barristers said evidence given by Mr Gaffney and his mother that he was beaten with batons and kicked by the named gardai was not believable or credible.

Conor Devally, senior counsel for Murtagh, said the prosecution wanted to keep quiet that his client had been involved in a tussle with Mr Gaffney the night before when off-duty and went to the property to make an arrest.

He added while Murtagh was not in Mr Gaffney's bedroom while sounds of groans and moans were heard from it, he had pushed Ms Gaffney in to the bathroom to stop her getting involved.

"There is no case for him having falsely imprisoned people, just as there is no case for believing Mr Gaffney that he assaulted him or that he entered without warrant," he added.

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