first_imgBy Rachel McLaughlin: A garda who admitted assaulting another man in a late night brawl has had the case against him struck out after the court heard of how he had once saved a woman’s life and prevented a rape.Garda Ian Oates sank back in his seat as Judge Paul Kelly told Letterkenny District Court that he would not record a conviction against him.Judge Paul Kelly said it would be a loss to the community if a Garda like Garda Oates were to be taken off the force. The court heard that at 3am on September 1, 2011, Richard Geraghty was assaulted by Garda Oates on the lane beside Gallagher’s Hotel Letterkenny.In his statement, Letterkenny man Geraghty said Garda Oates was standing with two friends outside Gallagher’s Hotel, when he called out to him as he walked past.Supt Jimmy Coen, who investigated the case, said witnesses had claimed that Geraghty had called Garda Oates a “f***** pig b*****.”Geraghty said that Garda Oates asked to shake his hand, and mentioned his brother who had died. He claimed that Garda Oates suggested that he follow him up Gallagher’s lane, where the assault took place.The court was shown CCTV footage of the incident.Garda Oates could be seen punching Geraghty at least four times in the footage shown in court and watched by Judge Kelly.Medical reports gave evidence to the injuries suffered by Geraghty on the night. A consultant at Letterkenny General Hospital treated a 5mm laceration on his left cheek, and cuts to both his arms and legs. Garda Oates was treated for a fractured tooth two weeks after the incident.Witnesses at Gallagher’s Hotel observed Garda Oates using his elbow to hit Geraghty in the face.The court heard how Garda Oates had served An Garda Siochana for nine years. He received two commendations for his service. He saved a woman’s life when she jumped into the River Swilly by diving in after her. On New Year’s Eve 2012 Garda Oates observed a sexual assault on CCTV, and was instrumental in stopping the crime.Garda Oates fundraising efforts were detailed in court today. He raised €60,000 for repair of the roof of St. Eunan’s Cathedral. He also volunteered for MS Ireland to raise money for Donegal Hospice and other charities.Damian Crawford, barrister for Garda Oates, said his client could lose his job as a result of the incident.He deeply regretted responding to alleged taunts from Geraghty.Garda Oates took to the witness box to offer a public apology to Mr Geraghty.He had offered €5,000 in compensation to his victim, said Mr Crawford who pleaded for leniency because of Garda Oates’ nine years service to the community.This included saving a drowning woman in the Swilly in 2008 and preventing a rape in 2012 after spotting suspicious activity on CCTV in the town.Geraghty, said Mr Crawford, had previous convictions for taunting off-duty gardai. He handed in newspaper clippings showing Geraghty’s convictions.One incident had involved two officers and their wives, he said.Judge Kelly told the court: “This is a most unfortunate case and its very troubling when a member of An Garda Siochana administering the law finds himself in court“Mr Oates has prosecuted many people possibly not unlike this case before the court. There was graphic evidence on the CCTV footage and it reflects very poorly that he succumbed to emotion and behaved the way in which he did.“Quite clearly physical force was taken by Mr Oates; Mr Geraghty suffered a very unpleasant and painful experience.“A civil claim has been resolved for the ordeal that he underwent.“Garda Oates is a man with an exemplary record and involved in two very significant incidents above and beyond the call of duty including the saving of the life of a woman.“Preventing an experience on another woman is evidence of his commitment and bravery. These are all matters which go to Mr Oates’ credit.“There has been a very diligent and careful investigation by Supt Coen.“Gardai must have trust and confidence of the public they serve and incidents like this do damage to the force.“But it would be a Draconian result if he were to lose his job as a Garda. It would be a loss to the community and so I am taking the unusual step of not recording a conviction and I will strike out the assault charge.’He ordered Garda Oates to pay €1,000 to Friends of Letterkenny Hospital.GARDA AVOIDS CONVICTION AFTER ADMITTING ASSAULT was last modified: September 5th, 2013 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Garda Ian OatesJudge Paul KellyLetterkenny District CourtRichard Geraghtylast_img

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