Court awards €90,000 to former Garda injured by car in drunk-driver arrest.
Award to William McAndrew includes compensation for nightclub assault while on duty.
A former garda who injured his back when he tried to stop a drunk driver’s car from rolling backwards, has been awarded more than €90,000 in damages in the High Court.
The award also includes compensation for a shoulder injury that retired garda William McAndrew (62) suffered on another occasion when he was assaulted while ejecting a man from a nightclub.
The court heard that Mr McAndrew was in a patrol car with a colleague in April 2003, when they noticed a motorist acting suspiciously in a parked car at Thomas Street,Castlebar, Co Mayo.
Mr McAndrew told his barrister, David Richardson, that he approached the driver who had lain across the front seats in an attempt to hide. The man was intoxicated, had become annoyed and had tried to start the car. The driver had bitten Mr McAndrew when he reached into the car to remove the key from the ignition. As he attempted to arrest the driver on suspicion of drink-driving the man released the handbrake and the car started to roll backwards.
Mr McAndrew said he injured his back while trying to stop the car through his own strength. His colleague helped him and they managed to hold the car and avoid a collision with a vehicle behind it. The court heard the man was arrested and brought to Castlebar Garda station.
Mr McAndrew told Mr Justice Bernard Barton he felt severe pain in his lower back and later visited his GP and attended several physiotherapy sessions. He had a history of back pain which had been aggravated by the incident.
Mr Richardson told the court that on another occasion, in August 2005, Mr McAndrew suffered an injury to his left shoulder when he was assaulted by a man he was removing from a nightclub.
Mr McAndrew was transferred to light duties until his retirement in 2009 and said he had to have surgery on his shoulder in 2013 which meant he had to give up cycling, fishing and golf.
Judge Barton said he was satisfied the former garda had ongoing pain which had affected his amenities of life. He awarded him €25,270 damages for his back injury and €68,410 for his shoulder injury, a total sum of €93,680.
Mr McAndrew had sued the Minister for Finance who had earlier accepted that his injuries had been caused in two incidents involving malicious behaviour.
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