Jailed for attack on a garda that resulted in her losing her zest for life and love for her job 

by Gazette Reporter
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By Sonya McLean

A garda who was attacked while attempting to arrest a drunk and abusive man has said that she has lost her “zest for life” and her “love for her job” as a result of the assault.

Garda Emma Brady was reading her victim impact statement during the sentencing of Aiden McKevitt, who was celebrating his 40th birthday, when he approached Gda Brady and her colleague. The gardaí were attempting to disperse a group of youths that were causing a disturbance.

McKevitt (40) told gardaí to “go f..k yourselves” when they told him to move on, shouting that it was his birthday and he would do what he wanted.

He continued to abuse the gardaí and despite being warned to move on or he would be arrested for a public order offence, McKevitt replied “f..k the judge, go ahead and arrest me”. There was a smell of alcohol off his breath, his face was red and his speech was slurred, Detective Sergeant Shane Noone told Caroline Latham BL, prosecuting.

The gardaí ultimately drew their batons in attempt to arrest McKevitt and managed to get a handcuff on his left wrist but he became more irate and violent towards them. He attempted to punch at Gda Brady’s colleague, Sergeant Adrian Kildea.

During the resulting scuffle, Gda Brady was knocked to the ground and McKevitt continued to punch her in the back as she lay on the ground. The incident came to an end when Sgt Kildea managed to use his pepper spray on McKevitt’s face. The man became a little subdued and the two gardai were able to restrain him until supporting officers arrived.

Det Sgt Noone confirmed that Gda Brady was treated for a fractured elbow and wrist and had soft tissues injuries to right shoulder, neck and chest wall. She also had injuries to a finger and a broken tooth.

McKevitt pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting a peace officer during the execution of their duties and obstruction of a peace officer at Dominic Street Lower on November 9, 2022.

McKevitt who is originally from Newry, Co Down, was homeless at the time of the offence. He has 144 previous convictions from the UK, including assaulting police officers, resisting or obstructing police, assault causing actual bodily harm, grievous bodily harm, witness intimidation, possession of weapons, possession of drugs, burglary and breaching a suspended sentence.

His 24 convictions from Ireland include public order offences, criminal damage and failing to appear for court hearings.

Gda Brady said in her victim impact statement that she remembers the night of the attack “very clearly and very vividly” as her life has changed forever and will never be the same.

She described McKevitt as “an absolute hero” who decided to assault “a five foot three” garda who was doing her job. She said that she damaged her finger, shoulder and wrist and broke her tooth that night.

“Bones, teeth, soft tissue injuries can all be treated and they will heal in time but what about the things that you can’t put in plaster of paris” Gda Brady said as she outlined how she has since struggled with her sleep and has a fear of being hit again when she is in a public place.

“How do you treat those things that are going on in your head?” Gda Brady asked before she said she couldn’t recall Christmas this year as she was heavily medicated. She said she was numb and felt nothing – “I still feel nothing”, she said.

“How do you heal if you are not sleeping? I have lost my zest for life, lost my love for my job,” she said before she added that she wondered why she would even bother working as a garda because of the “risk of being assaulted and no one cares”.

Gda Brady spoke of her love for football and said she was good at it but she is not sure now if she will play football again because of her shoulder injury. She also spoke of how she doesn’t think she will box again but said she has started to train again, lifting lighter weights “like a weakling that I am not”.

Gda Brady said she has become less tolerant and her attention span has been impacted, which she said she has been advised is consistent with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“But I am not a solider returning from war, I am a garda. It (an assault) should not be expected because it is not our job. I did not join the gardaí to be assaulted, I joined to help others,” Gda Brady continued.

She described how she used to love being on patrol “up town” but she is now working in an office. “A desk job, being at a desk is not me. I miss the buzz and being up town and doing my job.”

Gda Brady described the many emotions she has experienced since the attack, including sadness, anxiety, disgust and anger but she said she is now keeping fit and surrounding herself with positive people and avoiding those people who are not positive.

She concluded her statement by saying how grateful she was to those who have supported her. “I am rebuilding a version of myself that is colder, for now.”

Judge Pauline Codd said McKevitt’s convictions suggest someone who is “highly anti-social, highly anti-authority and seems to have a mindset against any type of authority”.

She acknowledged that McKevitt experienced domestic violence in his home environment growing up but said it was time he dealt with those issues and tried to lead “a pro-social life”.

She said McKevitt made it his own business to get involved when the gardaí were moving the youths out of the area and that McKevitt used “expletives and vile language, refused to desist, abused the garda, invited them to arrest him and then resisted the arrest”.

Judge Codd noted the profound effect the attack had on Gda Brady both personally and in her career and said it was “interesting that he chose to direct his ire at the female garda” but she added that there was “no doubt” that Gda Brady “was hardy and strong in her job”.

The judge said Gda Brady had suffered greatly as a result, struggling to sleep, having been heavily medicated, suffering emotionally “she is not able to do her job in the same capacity as previously and is concerned about her ability to play sport to the same degree, in particular boxing, which is all down to the accused,” Judge Codd said.

The judge said it was a significant aggravating factor that McKevitt had the opportunity to leave the area and he did not do so but instead “involved himself in a state of affairs that was none of his business”.

Judge Codd said the case warranted a headline sentence of four years before she took mitigating factors into account like McKevitt’s plea of guilty. She then imposed a sentence of three years which was backdated to when McKevitt first went into custody in February this year.

Garrett Casey BL, defending, who began his submissions to the court following Gda Brady’s victim impact statement, said “it was hard to follow a victim impact statement of that power and depth”.

He said his client wished to convey his apologies to the court and in particular to Gda Brady before he outlined McKevitt’s issues with alcohol and his experience of domestic violence growing up.

Mr Casey acknowledged that his client was heavily intoxicated that night having been out celebrating his birthday and said McKevitt had been angered by the fact that he had been attacked himself earlier that day.

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