A garda, who was knocked out in a savage attack by a gang of thugs, was awarded €38,500 attack at work compensation after he was left with significant injuries.
A High Court judge was told Detective Garda Brian Dunne managed to save a dislodged tooth by pushing it back up into his gum after he recovered consciousness.
The Garda informed presiding Judge Justice Tony O’Connor he will always remember the pain of pushing his upper right front tooth back into his gum socket. He went on to say that he was told by a dental specialist that this was the correct course of action.
The injury compensation hearing was told that that attack took place just before Christmas 2006 when the uniformed community garda, who was based at Ballymun Garda Station, had been assaulted by a group of six young men as they were on their way with drinks to a party.
Judge O’Connor said they could only be referred to as ‘thugs’ who had carried out a savage attack on Garda Dunne. The judge was told that the garda had been punched, knocked to the ground, and had a bottle smashed into his face. Following this he had been kicked repeatedly in the head and body until he eventually lost consciousness.
Colleagues of Detective Garda Dunne came to the scene and then on to the Mater Hospital by ambulance. Here he was treated for his injuries. Garda Dunne said: “I suffered a very bad gash to my mouth and to the back of my head and I learned that some of my teeth had been pushed backwards. At the scene when I recovered I had pushed a dislodged front tooth back into my gum. Another one of my teeth had been broken.”
He told the court he had to receive four stitches to one side of his mouth and five to the other side. On the inside of his mouth he had 14 stitches inserted. The gash on the back of his head had been brought together with glue.
Speaking about the pain that he suffered, Detective Garda Dunne said his teeth had been really painful and he required root canal work. Along with this, his body was bruised and he had a shoulder injury. Following having his dental injuries dealt with he was required to attend review appointments over the following five years. These reviews showed that the dislodged tooth had never fully come back into line after the attack.
The Garda told the Court that he had been absent from work for about six weeks in the aftermath of the attack. He said that he returned to work quickly as he had been due for promotion to detective at the time. He is of the opinion that he had probably gone back to work “too early.”
Legal representative for the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform barrister Joseph O’Sullivan was informed by Detective Garda Dunne was now back to full duties within three months of the incident. His recovery has been good and he has returned to playing football for his local club, though he still suffers from an occasional niggle him while active.
Judge O’Connor said he had sustained significant injuries in the incident and had been left with a noticeable scar at the side of his mouth. He awarded Detective. Garda Dunne €38,500 injury at work compensation.