Belfast Telegraph

Drunk woman left by police on Derry bus lane facing assault rap

By George Jackson

A drunk woman placed in a bus lane by two police officers in Londonderry on St Patrick's Day last year is to be prosecuted, it has emerged.

Bridget Patricia Mongan was recorded on CCTV cameras and on a mobile phone camera being placed in the bus lane by the officers in John Street.

Video footage of the incident was posted on the internet and was also seen widely after being broadcast on TV.

The footage showed 24-year-old Mongan from Stanley's Walk in the Brandywell area being left in the bus lane by two officers.

They had lifted her from the middle of John Street, where she was lying drunk.

At Derry's Magistrates Court yesterday, Ms Mongan was charged with assaulting her boyfriend, Martin McLaughlin, obstructing a police officer and with disorderly behaviour. She is alleged to have committed the offences in John Street on St Patrick's Day of last year. Her boyfriend - Martin McLaughlin (42) from Lisnafin Park in Strabane - is also charged with disorderly behaviour, obstructing a police officer and with assaulting Mongan, also in John Street on March 17, 2014.

Defence solicitor Seamus Quigley told District Judge Barney McElholm that both defendants denied assaulting one another but they pleaded guilty to the obstruction and disorderly behaviour charges.

He said it was a case "which falls into the domestic violence category". The cases against the two defendants were adjourned until April 14 when a date for a contest in relation to the assault charges will be fixed.

The video footage of Mongan being placed in the bus lane, just seconds before a bus pulled up alongside the lane, was described by the then Assistant Chief Constable of the PSNI George Hamilton as "horrendous".

Mr Hamilton, who is now the Chief Constable, said when interviewed about the incident last year: "At first viewing it does not look good. This was a bad day for confidence in policing. It was horrendous.

"Our job is to keep people safe and it didn't look like we were doing that. Suspension will be a consideration but the police are awaiting the Ombudsman's recommendations."

It is understood that two officers were appointed by the Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire to investigate the incident and that the two PSNI officers involved were temporarily removed from front line duties.

In a statement yesterday, the Ombudsman's office stated: "The Police Ombudsman made disciplinary recommendations against two police officers in relation to a complaint that they had endangered the safety of a woman in an incident in Derry-Londonderry on March 17, 2014."

The statement added that the Ombudsman Office was prevented from disclosing any more details about the nature of the discipline.

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