A garda, who stared death in the face when a shotgun pointed and fired at him failed to discharge, was today awarded €250,000 compensation in the High Court.
Mr Justice Michael Twomey, who deals with garda compensation cases, was told that the now retired garda, Patrick Kavanagh, of Sion Hill, Blackrock, Co Dublin, was awarded the Scott Medal for bravery arising out of the incident.
Barrister Michael O’Sullivan, counsel for the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, told Judge Twomey that Garda Kavanagh’s claim had been settled and was before the court to be ruled.
Gabriel Gavigan, SC, counsel for Mr Kavanagh said that the former Store Street Dublin garda had been awarded a Scott Medal for an act of bravery during which his life was put at risk while tackling an armed criminal.
Mr Gavigan, who appeared with Justin McQuade, BL, and Aileen Hogan of Brendan Maloney Solicitors, told the court that a Store Street colleague, Garda Stephen Foley, was with him in April 2002 when they faced down the raiders.
He said the two gardaí had been on duty at 1am on 21st April, 2002 when they were called to an armed robbery in progress at The Strand House pub in North Strand, Dublin.
A masked man carrying a shotgun and another man, wielding a knife, jumped into a getaway Honda car and sped off with Garda Kavanagh and Garda Foley giving chase. The armed raiders had abandoned their car and as the gardaí gave chase the gunman pointed the shotgun at them and pulled the trigger but the gun misfired.
Mr Gavigan said Garda Kavanagh had ultimately suffered significant post-traumatic stress disorder and the State had fairly met the case at an early stage and settled his claim which, he said, included a large sum for special damages.
Judge Twomey approved the award and commended both parties for having reached the settlement they had.
At the time of the raid the gardaí had given chase to the getaway car. After the gun had failed to discharge the two men abandoned the car near Spencer Dock and fled on foot in different directions. After succeeding in identifying the driver of the car Garda Kavanagh had returned to the vehicle and recovered the shotgun.
Garda Foley chased one of the raiders through the back gardens of houses at Spencer Dock and he eventually ran into one of the properties chased by Garda Foley. The raider hid in an upstairs bedroom while the occupants of the house tried to remove Garda Foley, who resisted.
When back-up arrived both raiders were arrested. Both gardaí were presented with their Scott medals six years later in 2008 at a passing out parade of new recruits at Templemore Garda College, Co Tipperary, by the then Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern.