A garda has gone on trial charged with assaulting an RTÉ cameraman and causing damage to his camera.

Sean Lucey, who has been stationed at Crumlin Village and Sundrive Road garda stations in Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to assaulting cameraman, Colm Hand in the city centre on 6 February, 2016.  He has also denied damaging a camera.

Prosecuting counsel, Fiona McGowan said the allegations against Mr Lucey had been investigated by the Garda Siochána Ombudsman Commission and a decision had been taken by the DPP to prosecute him.

She told the jurors that on 6 February, 2016, gardaí were on notice of a march or rally by an organisation called Pegida, which says it is against the islamicisation of countries and aims to protect national identity.

A counter march had also been planned by organisations linked to the anti-racism network.

Mr Lucey was part of a garda public order unit on duty in the city centre with the aim of preventing confrontations between the two groups.

Mr Hand was working with a reporter for RTÉ, reporting on the events.


 

Ms McGowan said that during the afternoon, the anti-racism protesters made a move to get down Cathedral Street in Dublin 1, to confront Pegida. Gardaí formed a line to stop any confrontation, the crowd got bigger and the situation grew tense.

She said Mr Hand and the reporter, Colman O'Sullivan, made a certain decision as a result.  And she said there was an incident involving a camera and Mr Hand was then struck by a baton in the groin area. 

Mr Hand was able to continue filming for only a very short time after that she said.

She told the jurors they would hear about the damage to the camera and the injuries to Mr Hand.

Ms McGowan told the jurors she anticipated this was a case in which they would have to consider the circumstances in which a person was justified in using force.

The case is expected to last up to five days.