A 33 year old man claimed at Dundalk district court last week that he didn’t realise his ex-partner’s emergency accommodation was being raided in a Garda drugs search, and he was in fear for his safety and that of his ex and her two children when the door was forced open.
Colm Beatty with an address at Farnham Road, Cavan denied a charge of obstructing a garda, at Oyster Bay Court, Carlingford on November 19th last by attempting to the close the door on gardai and prevent them from gaining entry.
The court heard how local gardai and members of the Dundalk District Drugs Unit were executing a search warrant around 8.40pm, when an ‘enforcer’ was used to open the door, which was locked.
Three gardai gave evidence that they had identified themselves a number of times beforehand. One garda said she went to walk in once the door was opened but Colm Beatty had repeatedly pushed the door against her. She said she was wearing a high-viz garda stab vest. She said the defendant was extremely aggressive and tried to stop them searching the house. The garda confirmed to the Defence barrister that the address was emergency accommodation provided to his client’s ex-partner due to a feud with other persons in the county.
The witness,who said her arm was bruised from being jammed between the door and the defendant pushing it up against her, rejected a suggestion that there was no knock or ring of a doorbell before the enforcer was used.
The Defence barrister said his client was in panic mode because he thought somebody was coming to attack his ex-partner.
A detective from the Garda Drugs Unit said he was wearing a standard navy Garda stab vest with Garda written across it.
He said Mr. Beatty was irate and abusive and “there was no talking to him” and added a number of garda vehicles were outside the house and in his opinion it was not possible for him “not to know we were gardai”.
A third garda said the defendant was using all his strength on the other side of the door – pushing very forcefully particularly against the female officer.
Colm Beatty told the court he was watching Christmas movies with the children when he heard a ruckus and ‘bounced up out of the chair’ towards the front door, which ‘came through’ and he threw himself at it claiming he was in fear for himself and the others in the property and claimed when he saw it was guards “I was rested assured”.
The Defence barrister argued his client’s intention was not to obstruct, but to ultimately protect his former partner and her children.
Judge John Brennan said he had no doubt that the gardai identified themselves and accepted their accounts of the level of aggression shown. He added that tensions were heightened and Mr. Beatty was in an anxious state.
However, the judge said he was not convinced that the defendant definitely knew that it was gardai. He had a reasonable doubt and dismissed the charge.
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