A Ballina man who denied obstructing a garda during an arrest had his case dismissed at Ballina District Court this week.
It was outlined by Garda Rebecca Fearon that on November 14 2011 before 2.30am a report was made from a local resident regarding a large crowd that had gathered at the laneway near the Convent Hill Estate.
Garda Fearon observed John McDonagh, 58 St Patrick’s Estate, Ballina, walk away from the scene towards the Killala Road. As he walked by her she noted that McDonagh had a left black eye and dry blood on his mouth.
The garda said that while she and Garda Conor Drury were bringing another passenger to the patrol car, McDonagh came back to the scene and he was agitated by the arrest. Garda Fearon said that the defendant placed his arm across Garda Drury’s chest in order to prevent him from placing the arrested person into the Garda car.
Garda Fearon directed McDonagh to leave the area on numerous occasions but he failed to do so. McDonagh, who the garda observed was intoxicated, then went to the roadway and told the gardaí that he was going to lie down on the road and was not going to move. McDonagh was then arrested. On the way into the Garda station Garda Fearon said that McDonagh said to her: “That wasn’t a bad night’s work, I’ll get a free doctor and a free solicitor and I’ll get €12,000 off ye.”
McDonagh told the court that he had a black eye from a fall from a horse a few days before and that his arm was in a sling, therefore there was no way that he could obstruct the garda. The defendant said that he was not drunk as he only had four or five cans that day after attending a Christening. McDonagh said that as he left the scene Garda Drury made a smart comment towards him, called him back and pushed him, which resulted in McDonagh falling to the ground. The defendant said that he had no recollection of Garda Fearon telling him to go home. McDonagh also claimed that Garda Drury tried to trip him up on his way into Ballina Garda Station.
Inspector Joe Doherty put it to McDonagh that he was out drinking all day and “you thought that you would bully the local gardaí.”
Judge Mary Devins said that only evidence she heard was from one member of An Garda Síochána and that as Garda Drury was not in court to give evidence in relation to the obstruction charge or to be cross examined in relation to the incident there was “more than reasonable doubt” and the judge dismissed the case.