A record amount of €1.1 million euros has been awarded in the High Court to a young member of the Garda Drug Squad who was seriously injured and repeatedly stabbed while effecting an arrest.
Mr Justice Bernard Barton, told barrister Paul O’Neill (Counsel for the Minister of Public Expenditure and Reform) that Garda Daryl Mullen had suffered serious physical injuries.
The now 38 year old former Garda suffered a vicious assault and battery seven years ago while on duty in James Street, Westport, Co.Mayo.
The judge awarded €400,000 in general damages, €300,000 in special damages and €348,179 for loss of earnings, pension and gratuity.
Mr Mullen had been on plain clothes duty with the unit of the drug squad during a street festival in Westport. . He confronted a group acting suspiciously and one of them pulled out a knife ‘which he drove into the left side of Garda Mullen’s abdomen’. The assailant was later charged and jailed for repeatedly stabbing Garda Mullen and afflicting ‘horrible internal injuries’ on him.
Mr Mullen bled heavily and was rushed to Mayo General hospital where he underwent major emergency surgery and remained then in intensive care for a week further to his surgery. He suffered serious injuries to his groin, stomach and lungs and later developed MRSA during treatment in University College Hospital in Galway.
In 2011, Garda Mullen was certified fit to return to light duties. He was assigned as a detective garda but his hopes of improvement of his symptoms and continuance of service as a garda detective were sadly not to be realised.
Following further surgery, Garda Mullen suffered devastating psychological consequences including being unable to obtain a fitness to return to work certificate. He was discharged from his duties on the grounds of ill health.
Following the release of the assailant, Mr Mullen and his family moved to Letterkenny, Co.Donegal. Although he can drive short journeys, Mr Mullen has become socially withdrawn, remaining at home most of the time as this is the only place where he feels safe and secure.
Doctors who have been treating Mr Mullen support his decision to retire on health grounds even from light duties. In the doctor’s view there was a connection between his role in the gardai and the profoundly negative and ongoing consequences of the assault.
Representatives for Mr Mullen stated after the judgement was delivered, that they believed it to be a record in the area of garda compensation.