Two gardaí denied assaulting teen in GSOC interview, court hears

Two gardaí accused of beating a teenager and leaving him with a lacerated kidney denied the assault during their Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) interviews.

Gardaí Mulcahy and Brian O’Connor of Blanchardstown Garda Station have both pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to then 18-year-old Leon Sutcliffe on November 13, 2010 at Fortlawn Park, Blanchardstown. It was day six of the trial.

GSOC officer Declan Farrell revealed that Gda O’Connor said there was “no truth” in Mr Sutcliffe’s allegations and that “under no circumstances” did he or Gda Mulcahy assault or mistreat the youth.

Gda O’Connor said he had noticed traces of blood on Mr Sutcliffe’s mouth, but thought the injury so small that it wouldn’t need medical attention.

He said he had a “normal conversation” with Mr Sutcliffe in the back of the patrol car and that the youth had appeared relaxed at the time.

Gda O’Connor described how Mr Sutcliffe told him he had “panicked” when asked why he had run from the gardaí.

Another GSOC officer, Sivan Govinder, told Garret Baker BL, prosecuting, that Gda Mulcahy told him in interview that he fell on top of Mr Sutcliffe with the momentum from the youth resisting arrest.

He said Mr Sutcliffe was constantly aggressive and that he had to use “reasonable force” with his body weight to try and restrain him.

He denied he pushed the youth to the ground.

Mr Govinder told Mr Baker that he had requested CCTV footage from the Blanchardstown Garda Station superintendent in December 2010, but got a response in January 2011 that this was unavailable.

He explained that CCTV footage is kept for 30 days at garda stations before being written over.

Padraig Dywer SC, defending Gda Mulcahy, put it to Mr Govinder that it was in his power to go into a garda station without a warrant to gather evidence.

Counsel asked Mr Govinder if instead of sending letters asking for CCTV, he should have gone to the station directly.

Mr Govinder replied that he was following GSOC protocol that requests from gardaí need to be done in writing.

He added that there were now procedures in place that he could speak directly to gardaí over the phone.

The trial continues before Judge Patrick McCartan and a jury of five women and seven men.

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