If there was a video of what Garda Pádraig Dennehy did, we’d all be cheering and clapping. Somebody might even put it on Facebook.
He thought the cop would take his side but you won’t believe what happened next.
What did happen?
Rimas Bastys, from Lithuania, a place where the police are famously approachable and honest (not), got into the cab of Mr Nadeem Mirza. The place was O’Connell Street in Dublin and his destination was Blanchardstown. For reasons best known to himself, Bastys got it into his head that the driver was going in circles to inflate the fare, so he jumped out of the cab at Parnell Square and approached Gardai, who happened to be diverting traffic from the scene of a collision.
He was drunk. He accused the taxi driver of cheating and Garda Pádraig Dennehy took time out of his assigned task to sort out the problem, which he did very effectively by taking Bastys’s wallet, removing a ten-euro note, handing it to the driver and returning the change to Rimas Bastys along with a receipt.
The evidence is that he then told Bastys to fuck off, which I sincerely hope is true.
Unfortunately, there’s no evidence that he slapped Bastys in the face, kicked him up the arse or pushed him into a giant custard pie but again, although I wish it were so, that’s not what happened.
Instead, the Garda Ombudsman Commission investigated a complaint from Mr Bastys, and then the DPP prosecuted the policeman for the theft of €6.25.
I’m glad to say that the matter was finally settled today when the District Court kicked the case out.
This is a story of a good practical cop doing his job with the minimum of fuss. He stole no money. He just paid the driver, Mr Mirza, and he gave Bastys his change, along with the receipt that proved the taxi had not travelled anywhere near as far as the drunken complainant imagined.
Do we need this kind of thing when there are genuine issues about the Gardai we need to be addressing? When we have so many examples of genuine abuse of power, do we need our cops to be worried about petty unfounded accusations?
Do we need police who are reluctant to intervene informally in any minor dispute for fear they might find themselves in front of a criminal court?
To my way of thinking, Pádraig Dennehy is the kind of cop we need on the streets and the last thing we want is to kill his initiative with this sort of trivial prosecution, but unfortunately he’ll probably think twice before he gets involved with the next drunken loudmouth.