Restaurant owner denies assaulting garda with ladle
A GOREY restaurant owner last week denied deliberately assaulting a garda with a greasy ladle, as the garda tried to serve a fixed penalty notice on him.
Garrett Bradshaw, (32) of Railway House, Coolnaveagh, Gorey, was charged with assault at Church Street, Gorey, on May 9, 2014.
Garda Michael Burke said that a fixed penalty notice for driving while using a mobile phone was returned to the fines office marked undeliverable. He was then asked to serve the notice personally. He noticed the defendant's vehicle parked adjacent to his business premises, 'The Pigs Tale' restaurant.
He went to the restaurant, and a waitress went to the kitchen to get Mr Bradshaw. A male then came out and said the defendant went home with his partner. Garda Burke then went to the house, and was told by Mr Bradshaw's partner that he wasn't present, and that he was 'to-ing and fro-ing' throughout the day.
Garda Burke returned to the restaurant and saw the defendant in a laneway off Church Street, behind the restaurant. He approached him.
'He was very agitated. He appeared to be recording our conversation on his phone,' said the garda. 'He was cleaning out a grease trap with a ladle.'
He added that the defendant swiped his hand with the ladle, as he tried to serve him with the notice. The garda then informed Mr Bradshaw that he had assaulted him, and returned to his car, and wiped the grease off his hand and sleeve with an envelope. He wasn't injured but said it was 'quite disgusting.'
In response to questions from the defendant's barrister Jordan Fletcher, the garda said he believed the defendant was trying to evade service of the notice.
Garda Burke denied the suggestion that he 'shoved' the document at the defendant, who then jumped back, accidentally hitting the garda, who then said 'oh I've been assaulted,' because the two had 'a history'.
'It was a deliberate swipe,' said Garda Burke.
Garda Trevor McCormack was in the patrol car in the laneway and could see the defendant was agitated. He saw Garda Burke extend his arm with the notice, and Garrett Bradshaw 'swiped at him with something.' He couldn't see what it was, but saw the greasy residue afterwards.
Sgt Colum Matthews investigated the case, and when he rang the restaurant to speak to Mr Bradshaw, he hung up, saying that anything to be said to him could be put in writing.
In the witness box, Garrett Bradshaw said that Garda Burke was 'quite irate' when he got out of the car. 'He was infuriated. His exact words were "I've been given the run around by you all day",' he told the court. 'I told him to restrain himself and I told him he was on private property.'
He denied making a swipe at the garda. 'He alarmed me,' he said. 'He was quite robust. He reached for me and I recoiled and he touched off it as he was reaching for me. There was no malice involved. He encroached on my personal space.'
Responding to Inspector Pat Cody's questions, he said he wasn't aware the garda was looking for him. He denied swiping at the garda. 'That's not in my nature,' he said.
He said he sent the notice back because he disputed it, and he is still in court about it. He didn't see how Garda McCormack saw the incident as he couldn't see how he 'could see through a bin.' He believed that bins in the laneway would have blocked his view.
He said he recoiled as the garda moved his body towards him. His feeling was one of disbelief when Garda Burke said he had been assaulted. 'I've never had anybody say that to me before,' he stated. 'I've never intentionally hit anybody.'
Summing up, Judge Gerard Haughton didn't believe the garda was irate and threatening about a summons the defendant had refused to accept. 'Garda Burke was given the run around,' he stated. 'The defendant didn't want the notice.' He was told the defendant had 15 previous convictions for road traffic offences, the most recent in 2008. Accepting the contact was minimal, he said that if the defendant pays €500 to the garda benevolent fund by January 20, he will strike out the charge.