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Policeman's Claim for Compensation at Summer Assizes |

Policeman’s Claim for Compensation at Summer Assizes

Limerick, Friday – Yesterday at the Summer Assizes, held before Mr Justice Gibson, the Limerick County Council appealed a decision made by Judge Adams. The judge had previously granted fifty guineas in compensation for injuries allegedly sustained by Sergeant P. McCarthy, a Royal Irish Constabulary (R.I.C.) officer, during a disturbance in Boherbue, County Limerick, on the 18th of January, 1904. Mr P. Lynch, B.L. (represented by Mr Gaffney), appeared for the applicant, while Mr E. Phelps, B.L. (represented by Mr W. Leahy), appeared on behalf of the County Council.

According to the applicant’s testimony, he had been involved in clearing a public house where a row had occurred. While escorting a man named Laurence Sullivan to the barracks, he was struck on the head by a stone thrown by an unidentified person in the crowd. The injury resulted in nine days of medical leave and thirty-five days off duty. Dr Keogh from Killaloe confirmed that the applicant had suffered a severe wound but no fracture, and he had since fully recovered.

In defence, Mr Phelps argued that the injury occurred in the course of the officer’s duties and not solely “on account of” his actions in apprehending a disturber of the peace and bringing him to the barracks. The judge acknowledged the psychological question surrounding the motive behind the incident.

Mr Justice Gibson stated that there was no malice evident in the case. The applicant had been dealing with a single disturber of the peace, rather than a group of troublemakers as implied by the plural “disturbers.” He expressed difficulty in determining whether the blow was received during the arrest or as a punishment for making the arrest. Speculating on the motives of an unknown assailant was challenging. Given the relatively minor nature of the case, the judge decided not to reverse Judge Adams’ decision, considering the compensation as insurance damages. The injured officer had made a full recovery, and the damages were thus reduced to £10.

In another matter, the judge reduced the damages awarded to Dr Keogh in a separate case from £7 13s to £5. Dr Keogh explained that he had spent three days in court and incurred expenses for a substitute in Killaloe. Mr Justice Gubson assured him that he would receive compensation for his costs and thanked him for his candour.

The proceedings at the Summer Assizes highlighted the complexities of determining liability and motives in injury cases, with the judge carefully assessing the evidence to reach a fair decision.

Dublin Evening Telegraph – Saturday 09 July 1904

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