'I felt I was violated': Cork man who denied obstructing a drugs search makes complaint to Garda Ombudsman

'I felt I was violated': Cork man who denied obstructing a drugs search makes complaint to Garda Ombudsman

The man was convicted of obstructing a drugs search at Gurranabraher garda station and sentenced him to four months in prison.

A young man who denied obstructing a drugs search complained in his trial that gardaí violated him and he brought a complaint to the Garda Ombudsman.

Judge Marian O’Leary convicted Kelvin Higgins of obstructing a drugs search at Gurranabraher garda station and sentenced him to four months in prison.

Judge O’Leary also convicted him of assaulting Garda Senan Dormer by striking his head backwards on to Garda Dormer’s forehead. Higgins denied the assault charge but was fined €500 or five days in prison in default of payment.

Cross-examined by Inspector Martin Canny, Higgins said at Cork District Court in respect of the search the garda station on September 30 2019, “I felt I was violated. I am a man. They were around my back area with a clamp. I never seen this in my life.” 

Higgins, 29, with an address at Lus Na Meala, Banduff, Mayfield, Cork, made a complaint to GSOC a day or two after it happened in 2019 and he said he was waiting to hear from them.

The incident that gave rise to Higgins being charged with assault and obstructing a search occurred when Garda Danielle Love and Garda Conor Smiddy saw the defendant and another man on a laneway between Cattlemarket Avenue and Glenryan Road and one appeared to be passing the other a package. 

One man took off running and was never located. Kelvin Higgins was arrested.

He said later that the man was a relative who had loaned him €350 or €370 earlier that day and he did not know why the other man ran away.

Gardaí said he was so aggressive he had to be handcuffed and put in a personnel carrier and that he kicked out in the back of the van throughout the journey to the garda station. Higgins denied this.

Prosecution evidence was given that he shouted insulting comments and remarks of a sexual nature at gardaí in the garda station.

Higgins had to be restrained and put in a cell and told he was to be searched. 

Higgins replied, “If you come any closer I will break your face” and that he threw his head back, connecting with Garda Dormer’s forehead.

Higgins said there was contact but it was accidental during a scuffle and was not an assault. He said he only made comments to gardaí after being ‘violated’ in a drugs search. He did not recall making any comments of a sexual nature at any stage.

The case went on at length at Cork District Court and when Judge O’Leary convicted him she then asked if he had any previous convictions. Inspector Martin Canny said Kelvin Higgins had 94 previous convictions.

Michael Quinlan solicitor said the accused had undertaken rehabilitation since this incident occurred. A five-month suspended sentence was imposed on him for another offence where he was carrying a Stanley knife. It was found concealed down the back of his pants that another occasion.

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