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Judge Awards Garda €30,000 in Mouth Injury Compensation

A member of an Garda Síochána has been awarded €30,000 compensation for an injury to his mouth that he suffered while attending to a reported incident at a house in Finglas.

Sean Kelly (aged 31), received the scar nearly five years ago while on duty, in January 2012. Garda Kelly had been called to a house in Finglas to deal with a man who was threatening self harm. As he had just been released from a psychiatric institution, he was deemed dangerous, and two colleagues accompanied Garda Kelly to the scene.

In court, Garda Kelly stated that the man was known to have taken a large quantity of non-prescriptive medication. He had locked himself in his bathroom, and was threatening to jump from the window. Garda Kelly and his colleagues attempted to apprehend the man. While doing so, he was struck on his mouth with a toilet brush holder which lacerated his lip.

The laceration serious bleeding and he had to be taken to Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown to be treat immediately. Medical staff examined the wound, and found a piece of porcelain was found to be still embedded in his upper lip. X-rays revealed he had not suffered any major fractures.

Garda Kelly was given a local anaesthetic injection and received seven stitches, several of them on the inside of his mouth. The injury later became infected,  and was prescribed a course of antibiotics until the infection cleared up. He said he could still feel the inside scar with his tongue.  The scar on the outside of his lip was noticeable at conversational distance and he was still very conscious of it.

Barrister Fiona Gallagher, who was representing Garda Kelly, stated that he remains sensitive about a scar on his upper lip and told Mr Justice Bernard Barton he was still conscious of the star-shaped scar. However, Garda Kelly himself joked with the presiding judge that he might have to wear make-up when he gets married next weekend.

Counsel for the Minister for Public Expenditure, Barrister Derek Ryan told the court that, based no conflicting medical reports, he did not think that Garda Kelly has suffered Post Traumatic Stress to the extent that it warranted an exceptional compensation award.

After taking this information into account, the judge awarded Garda Kelly €30,000 for his injury and consequent scar. He was not awarded any compensation for his Post Traumatic Stress claim. The judge closed the case, and wished Garda Kelly well for his imminent wedding.