Jury out in garda assault trial

The jury on the trial of four gardaí accused of locking a woman in a bathroom as her teenage son was allegedly assaulted in bed has been sent home for the night.

Gardaí Alan Conlon, Claire Delaney, Eoin Murtagh and Sean O’Leary have been charged with assault causing harm to Owen 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 Fidelma Gaffney in a bathroom of her Basin Street flat.

They have pleaded not guilty to each of the charges.

The six women and sex men deliberated for 90 minutes before they were sent home by Judge Desmond Hogan, sitting at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

The prosecution maintains Ms Gaffney was held in the bathroom against her will for five minutes while her then 18-year-old son was kicked and beaten with batons as he lay in bed.

But barristers for the gardai claim the co-accused were acting in self defence and used reasonable force when they held Ms Gaffney, who admitted to being hysterical, in the bathroom.

The jury heard they went to the property to arrest Mr Gaffney after he was involved in a tussle with Garda Murtagh when he was off-duty the night before.

It is claimed he also threatened to bite Garda Conlon’s nose off.

Their lawyers said Mr Gaffney had a history of resisting arrest, had previously broken a garda’s jaw, and argued evidence given by the mother and son cannot be believed.

The investigation was carried out by the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission.

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