Gardaí have issued an apology to a cousin of the late John Carthy after he sued over alleged assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.
They made the admission to Thomas Walsh of Toneymore, Abbeylara and accepted officers had got the “wrong person” during his arrest on February 18, 2007.
The 42-year-old is a cousin of John Carthy, who died after being shot by members of the garda Emergency Response Unit following a siege at his home at Abbeylara, Co Longford, in April 2000.
Mr Walsh issued legal proceedings against the Justice Minister, Garda Commissioner and State alleging assault and false imprisonment over an incident in 2007.
During that episode, three patrol cars were allegedly involved in stopping and arresting the Longford man while he was driving his motorbike.
The incident, Mr Walsh claimed had re-ignited “old wounds and anger” in relation to his cousin’s death more than 13 years ago.
As a result of last week’s hearing, he will receive a sum in compensation, plus his legal costs, under the settlement.
Part of that settlement included a statement read out in court by Conor Maguire, counsel for the defendants.
“It is acknowledged by gardaí that, when Mr Walsh was arrested, he was the wrong person. The gardaí regret the distress caused,” said Mr Maguire.
In his action, Mr Walsh claimed damages stemming from an incident on February 18, 2007.
On that occasion, Mr Walsh alleged a patrol car forced him to stop while he was lawfully driving his motorbike at the Delvin by-pass roundabout in Co Westmeath.
It was claimed two other patrol cars arrived, leading to him being surrounded by gardaí.
Allegations were also made, claiming that his arm was grabbed, he was thrown across the bonnet of a patrol car, pulled back into an upright position with his motorbike helmet also being grabbed forceably.
Mr Walsh claimed the consequences of that incident left him with injuries to his ears, neck and back. Gardaí, it was further claimed, behaved in an aggressive and threatening manner, and shouted abuse at him before he was thrown into a patrol car with force.
It was claimed Mr Walsh was accused of doing “wheelies” at speeds in excess of 150mph, endangering life and running people off the road.
As the incident continued to unfold, it was also claimed he was called “a f*****g lunatic” and a “stupid little c***” and that one garda threatened to assault him in the garda station.
Mr Walsh similarly alleged he was told that all the gardaí in Mullingar garda station were going to testify it was Mr Walsh’s bike and registration number they were pursuing and Mr Walsh was going to jail.
The incident left him in fear of his life and in non-stop apprehension of physical assault while in the station, he alleged.
Mr Walsh was subsequently charged with dangerous driving at Delvin Road, Mullingar.
Those charges were withdrawn in November 2007 when it was acknowledged by the Director of Public Prosecutions and gardaí Mr Walsh was the “wrong person”, “incorrectly arrested,” in an incident which was “regretted”.