Donegal garda accused of 'unprovoked' baton attack

Man claimed he was hit on legs and head

By Staff Reporter

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Donegal garda accused of 'unprovoked' baton attack

Letterkenny Garda Station

The case against a Donegal garda accused of an unprovoked baton attack on a 28-year-old man, has been dismissed.

Mark Monaghan (28) of 4 Upper Carnamuggagh, Letterkenny alleged that Garda Shane Lavelle, who is based at Letterkenny Garda Station, hit him with a baton nine or ten times at around 3.30am on January 6, 2013.

He told Donegal Circuit Court that most of the blows were to his legs, adding that there was one blow to the back of his head.

The court heard that gardaí at Letterkenny Garda station were monitoring their CCTV screens when they became aware of an incident involving Mr Monaghan and his friend and another male.

They went to Main Street to "prevent it escalating into something more serious". When they arrived, Mr Monaghan walked away, then ran as he was pursued by Garda Shane Lavelle.

When he realised the guard was going to catch up with him, he stopped at the rear of the Courtyard Shopping Centre.

Mr Monaghan claimed that he approached Garda Lavelle with his hands up and was then "beaten up" for no reason.

Claimed he had resisted arrest

Garda Lavelle claimed that Mr Monaghan resisted arrest, tried to get him in a headlock and grabbed the collar of his jacket and shirt.

The guard stated that he followed "standard operating procedure", as he feared for his safety. He'd only used the baton on Mr Monaghan's legs, he said, and he repeatedly stated that he never struck him on the head.

At district court, Mr Monaghan had been found guilty of public order offences on the night, the court heard.

After reviewing CCTV footage, Judge John O'Hagan said there was no evidence that Mr Monaghan had approached Garda Lavelle with his hands up, as he claimed.

There was, however, "no doubt" that the two men were involved in a struggle.

He said Mr Monaghan had not proven that, "on the balance of probability", his version of events was what happened.

The judge also stated, "Neither am I absolutely sure that what Garda Lavelle said is exactly what happened," and dismissed the case.

See page 5 for full case.