A MAN who admitted assaulting a garda while in custody in turn alleged he had been punched in the chest by a sergeant at Henry Street.
Anwar Sanki had not reported the matter to the Garda Ombudsman Commission partly because of that office’s concerns that gardai did not co-operate with its investigations, his solicitor Sarah Ryan told Limerick District Court.
But an exasperated Judge Eugene O’Kelly did not accept this explanation and said Sanki - who was accused of assaulting Garda Brian Delee following his arrest on February 16 - would have received a “full and fair hearing” had he decided to contest the charge.
Sanki, a 26-year-old student with an address in Adare, pleaded guilty to assault but in turn alleged he had been assaulted by an unnamed sergeant during his detention.
Prior to his arrest, Sanki had been ejected from Nancy Blake’s pub on Denmark Street over a “rude gesture” he made to a barmaid.
His solicitor Sarah Ryan said CCTV footage clearly showed that two security guards were sitting on her client outside the pub as they waited for gardai to arrive.
More footage from Henry Street garda station showed Sanki “calmly and casually entering the station with no protest”, Ms Ryan said.
She said Sanki had refused to give his name or otherwise co-operate with gardai as he believed he had been unlawfully arrested. It was after this that he alleged he had been punched in the chest by the sergeant.
The assault on Garda Delee, the arresting officer in the case, occurred as Sanki was being released from custody after the accused took exception to what he regarded as a “smirk” on Garda Delee’s face.He was placed in a cell and, when he was finally released, had vomited outside the garda station and gone to hospital where he was kept overnight. Ms Ryan noted that no CCTV footage had been made available of Sanki leaving the garda station. A medical report from the Centre for the Survivors for Torture, Ms Ryan said, found his injuries were “highly consistent” with Sanki’s version of events.
Sgt Donal Cronin said he could not say whether Garda Delee had been smirking or not but “even supposing that he had, the reaction of Mr Sanki was totally disproportionate to whatever subjective opinion he had of Garda Delee’s attitude”.
Judge O’Kelly said there was “an appropriate channel for complaints in relation to alleged Garda misbehaviour” and that the Ombudsman’s comments in relation to a lack of co-operation in specific cases had no relevance to this one.
Sanki was someone who “appears to have gone berserk in his cell, shouting and kicking at doors” on the night of his arrest.
He noted that Sanki had the option of contesting the case but had instead chosen to enter a plea of guilty to the offence.He further noted that the reply given by Sanki on being charged was “I’ll get you done”. If that had been a reference to the Ombudsman, he had done nothing about it and Judge O’Kelly said the remarks were more likely just “menacing and threatening”. The judge was “not one bit impressed” by this reply.
Sanki was fined €300 for assaulting Garda Delee and another €100 for intoxication in a public place.