Men who videoed gardai during search given suspended jail sentences

Men who videoed gardai during search given suspended jail sentences
Two men who videoed an attempted Garda search of them on a mobile phone were given suspended jail sentences on Friday.

Two men who videoed an attempted Garda search of them on a mobile phone were given suspended jail sentences on Friday.

John Deegan and Sean Fitzgerald had put the video on YouTube, called it Gardathugs, and claimed it showed harassment and intimidation by gardai.

It was viewed by Judge Kevin Kilrane in court.

But Judge Kilrane, who had convicted them and remanded them in custody for a week, said in Sligo District Court on Friday that the video proved the harassment and intimidation was done by the defendants and not the gardai.

He said the gardai were rightfully attempting to conduct a search of the men and a van they were in on suspicion that one of them had drugs although no drugs were found.

He said both men represented themselves at an earlier hearing in Ballyshannon District Court and made serious allegations of garda harassment and intimidation.

When he found the allegations were unfounded and that instead the men were the intimidators he remanded them to consider what prison sentence to impose.

The judge said both men had now placed before him letters of apology which were impressive. Testimonials which accompanied 40-year-old Deegan’s apology were “quite impressive.”

Judge Kilrane added: “They were considerably at variance with the Mr Deegan I saw in court and on the video when he was extremely aggressive and threatening to the gardai.”

The video the judge saw showed 36-year-old Fitzgerald protesting against the gardai and Deegan’s voice was heard accusing the gardai of intimidating him.

Deegan, of Drumacrin Avenue, Bundoran, and Fitzgerald, of Dalgan Rd, Navan, Co, Meath, were convicted of obstructing gardai last July 18 at Ballyshannon market yard and refusing a drugs search.

Each received a one-month prison sentence suspended for two years.