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Work Injury Compensation of €18k Awarded to Garda Bitten by HIV-Positive Prisoner

A Garda has been awarded €18,000 work injury compensation to a Gardaí who was bitten by a HIV-positive prisoner who he was attempting to restrain.

The High Court was told yesterday that the incident took place when a tem of Gardai was using pepper spray to restrain a female prisoner. The prisoner responded to the restraining by clamping her teeth into Garda Sheen Carroll’s arm of a colleague and refused to release her.

Teh hearing, which was held virtually, presiding judge Justice Mary Rose Gearty was informed that Garda Sheenagh Carroll had been attacked at Donegal Court in November 2014 as she was transporting a violent prisoner from Dublin to Letterkenny Courthouse. Unfortunately they brought the prisoner to courthouse in Donegal town by mistake. As the prisoner was being removed from Donegal Court to a police van she began fighting to try and release herself. when the Gardai finally got her to the van, the prisoner bit the garda’s left arm.

Garda Carroll informed the court that “While attempting to push away the prisoner’s head, she then latched her teeth down onto my right arm. I was unable to free myself as her jaw was clenched so tightly on my arm.”

Appearing in court with Keira O’Reilly of Keans Solicitors Barrister Esther Earley informed the judge that other gardaí present had rushed to garga Carroll’s aid and used pepper spray on the prisoner who then released her grip.

Following the attack Garda Carroll was taken to Letterkenny Hospital where her open and bleeding bite wounds were tended to by a nurse familiar with the prisoner. She informed Garda Carroll that she was aware that the prisoner was HIV positive and she administered a range of medication to address this.

Describing the incident to the court Garda Carroll, of Milltownpass, Co Westmeath, referred to it as ‘savage’ and said she had sustained physical and psychological suffering as a result of it.

By the time that Garda Carroll returned to light duties at work in Pearse Street station in Dublin, four months after the attack, there were teeth marks still visible on her arms and she was so self-conscious of them that she became reluctant to wear short-sleeved tops.

This is the second third working injury compensation award that has been awarded to Garda Carroll. In 2009 Judge Gearty heard a work injury compensation claim in relation to an injury sustained by Garda Carroll in 2009. Previously as Garda Carroll was trying to handcuff an aggressive man in Fleet Street, Dublin, when she sustained a wrist injury. The judge awarded her €8,000 compensation. In January 2020 41-year-old Garda Carroll was awarded €22,000 damages for an undisplaced fracture of her left arm. That injury was suffered as Garda Carroll was restraining a female prisoner who had kicked out and struck her.

As he was awarding Garda Carroll €18,000 work injury compensation Judge Gearty said that while Garda Carroll’s injuries and anxieties had last for just six months’ duration, her personal life had been also been impacted.