Garda as­saulted by drunk man is awarded €25,000 dam­ages

New Ross Standard - - FRONT PAGE -

A WELL-KNOWN New Ross garda, whose spinal cord was threat­ened as a re­sult of a dou­ble as­sault, had to be op­er­ated on quickly when he was taken to hos­pi­tal, the High Court heard last week.

Garda Kevin Burke, now aged 40, was as­saulted by a drunk in the car park of a lo­cal night club more than five years ago and again at New Ross Garda Sta­tion af­ter tak­ing the man into cus­tody, Mr Jus­tice Michael Twomey was told.

Garda Burke told a Garda Com­pen­sa­tion hear­ing that although his lower back had been injured he had com­pleted his night duty on May 22nd 2013 and man­aged to get through the fol­low­ing night’s work.

He said he was in agony and un­able to get out of his bed on the sec­ond morn­ing af­ter the as­sault and his doctor was called. He had been given a pain killing in­jec­tion but when it had worn off he had been un­able to get out of his bed and an am­bu­lance had been called to his home.

Garda Burke told his coun­sel, John Ferry, that when he had been trans­ferred to hos­pi­tal in Water­ford it was dis­cov­ered fol­low­ing an MRI scan that a piece of a disc in his spine had bro­ken off and was threat­en­ing his spinal cord.

As a re­sult he had been pre­pared for and had un­der­gone emer­gency surgery. He had spent four days in hos­pi­tal dur­ing which time he had to move around the hos­pi­tal in a wheel­chair. When dis­charged he had to use crutches to get around.

Mr Ferry, who ap­peared with Julie Smyth of Hughes Mur­phy Solic­i­tors, Dublin, told the court that Garda Burke had been a very fit man who had taken part in hill walk­ing and had gone run­ning sev­eral times a week some­times up to six miles.

‘While he made a good re­cov­ery from his in­juries there is an is­sue of on­go­ing back pain and the loss of sen­sa­tion in an area of his left leg,’ Mr Ferry said.

‘In­ter­mit­tent pain is con­tin­u­ing more than five years af­ter the in­ci­dent and Garda Burke faces po­ten­tial foot trips when he is fa­tigued and par­tic­u­larly when he is climb­ing stairs or on un­even ground.’

Mr Ferry said the med­i­cal ev­i­dence was that he had suf­fered a rup­tured disc, a piece of which had im­pinged on and threat­ened to damage his spinal cord which had re­sulted in se­ri­ous lim­i­ta­tion of move­ment re­quir­ing surgery.

He had suf­fered se­verely for a cou­ple of months fol­low­ing surgery, re­turn­ing to light du­ties and re­turn­ing to full duty within five months.

‘He now suf­fers low back pain which is on­go­ing and which has to be med­i­cated by the use of pain killers on a daily ba­sis. He is still a very young man who has been left with per­ma­nent in­jury,’ Mr Ferry said.

Award­ing Garda Burke €25,000 dam­ages to­gether with €2,700 med­i­cal and other ex­penses against the Min­is­ter for Pub­lic Ex­pen­di­ture and Re­form, Judge Twomey said Garda Burke’s in­juries had not caused him any per­ma­nent func­tional im­pair­ment but would have to be man­aged with med­i­ca­tion.

Garda Kevin Burke.

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