Belfast Telegraph

Tyrone man who lied about being assaulted by cops jailed

Frank McGirr was given five months behind bars and banned from driving
Frank McGirr was given five months behind bars and banned from driving

By Staff Reporter

A Co Tyrone man has been jailed after a judge ruled he fabricated evidence of police "mauling" him when they called at his home to discuss motoring matters.

Frank McGirr denied assaulting two officers and resisting arrest on January 21, instead insisting he was the victim.

Dungannon Magistrates Court heard McGirr (64), from Shanliss Road, Stewartstown, punched one officer in the chest while the other was struck in the face, splitting his lip.

He was sent to prison for five months.

The court heard McGirr was stopped in his Mercedes on January 20 driving without a licence or insurance but "brazenly" drove on. He claimed his previously revoked licence was returned, but this was untrue.

Police called at his home the next day, not to arrest him but to seize his car. When told this, McGirr, seated at the front door in a wheelchair, "stood up, puffed out his chest" and announced police were not taking the car.

He then assaulted and punched both officers and hurled sectarian abuse, before challenging them to fight.

However, McGirr maintained a completely different position, claiming he was in bed asleep when two officers entered his room, dumped him into a wheelchair and took him to the front door, where he was assaulted by a third officer.

Focusing on one officer, McGirr claimed: "He jumped out of his car in a rage. I knew by his face... he hit me in the face and blackened my eye.

"I had no intention of hitting anyone... they took me from my bed. They beat me to the ground. I have never seen anyone with as wicked a face that officer put on to beat me."

Challenged on police evidence, McGirr responded: "They all gave the same. It was well-rehearsed. They all sang off the same hymn sheet."

He denied shouting "black b*****ds. You're nothing but Protestants from east Belfast" at police, insisting: "I am a devout man." Although he conceded telling them to "f*** off".

McGirr dismissed a split lip injury caused to an officer, stating: "He is just holding up his lip as if it's swollen."

Found guilty of all the charges, the case was adjourned for pre-sentence and psychological reports.

On return his defence said McGirr "is simply incapable of dealing with heightened tension and anxiety. He cannot property control aggression and anger".

Judge John Meehan examined previous disposals for "high level violent offending", noting three suspended sentences between 2015 and 2018.

He said: "The courts will not keep handing down suspended sentences. There is real, imminent danger. The defendant insists on driving and attacks police who intervene.

"His licence was revoked because he was considered a danger. He gave a completely fabricated version of police attending to seize his car, claiming they mauled him."

Turning to the psychological report, Judge Meehan remarked: "I studied this carefully. There is no indication of delusion or mental illness... the defendant has been running violently in the community for years, taking no notice of suspended sentences... it is necessary to protect the public in the face of ardent danger."

The judge highlighted a section in the report which noted McGirr demonstrates "disgruntlement and entitlement… he has fallen out with social services as they denied him a wheelchair, despite attending the assessment on a bicycle".

Jailing McGirr for five months in total, which includes an activated suspended sentence, Judge Meehan told him: "You have shown no remorse whatsoever. You indeed demonstrate disgruntlement and entitlement. You have self-decided rights to do as you please."

Judge Meehan also ordered McGirr's Mercedes to be forfeited, and imposed a three-year driving disqualification.

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