Derry judge surprised broken arm claim was not properly checked

A District Judge in Derry said he was ‘somewhat surprised’ that police did not even make a cursory examination of leading Derry dissident republican Gary Donnelly after he alleged his arm had been broken in an incident involving PSNI officers.

Judge Barney McElholm made his comments as he convicted Donnelly of three charges, assault, disorderly and obstruction relating to the incident that occurred on November 16 2007.

During a four day trial the court had heard how following his acquittal earlier in the day of November 16 Donnelly had been stopped by police and in the ensuing confrontation he had sustained a broken arm.

Police officers gave evidence that Donnelly had told them his arm was broken but they said they noticed nothing different.

A doctor had told the court it was ‘one of the nastiest injuries’ she had seen.

Mr. McElholm said that he was satisfied that the injury had occurred at some stage during the confrontation with police but it was unclear exactly when or how.

He said he was aware that people could feign injuries and even heart attacks to get to hospital but he was surprised that the police had not examined Donnelly’s arm.

Convicting him of the three charges the Judge said he had no doubt that Donnelly had sworn at police officers and that he had waved them away when they went to search him.

On the assault charge he said that it was at the lower end of the scale and no injury as such had been caused to the officers.

The Judge then fined Donnelly a total of £450.