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Man, Wrongfully Arrested Following Serious Attack on Fiancée Awarded Over €1 Million

A man who was wrongfully arrested on suspicion of attacking his fiancée, even though she insisted it was another man, has been awarded over €1 million by an Irish High Court jury. Gerald Jennings, 34, sued the Garda Commissioner and the State over his arrest in Carlow on 2 December 2012 on suspicion of attacking Martha Kowalczyk, RTÉ reports. Her attacker, Colvin Keogh, 26, was jailed for seven years in 2014 after being found guilty of assault causing serious harm and sexual assault. Mr Jennings was sleeping in his fiancée’s apartment near where she was attacked when Gardaí woke him. Gardaí told the court that Mr Jennings was drunk and abusive, and they began to suspect he was the attacker after spotting a handbag which they understood had been stolen from Ms Kowalczyk.

However, a jury found that the actions of Gardaí, who pepper sprayed Mr Jennings three times, were not reasonably necessary for the purpose of affecting a lawful arrest for breach of the peace and being drunk and disorderly, and that his detention was unlawful. A total award of €1,152,000 was granted by the jury, including €819,550 in general damages and €330,000 in exemplary damages, with a stay on the award in the event of appeal on condition that €150,000 is paid to Mr Jennings.

 Source: Irish Legal News,

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